ecommerce returns processing
One of the most important aspects of your online retail customer service is your ecommerce return policy. Whether and how you handle ecommerce returns can mean the difference between making a sale and having your potential customer pass you over for your competitor with the more liberal return policy. However, as anyone who has been in ecommerce for more than a month knows, handling returns can be tricky. Good ecommerce returns management requires that you be able to track the original sale and the original form of payment.
It’s also beneficial for your long-term planning to look at your ecommerce return statistics. This information can help you spot quickly if there’s a problem with a particular item, such as the size not being standard or the workmanship not being up to your usual standard. This is especially important if you have your merchandise drop-shipped from a warehouse or if you ship your merchandise to a warehouse for later distribution, as with Amazon.com’s FBA system.
Ecommerce returns software makes tracking returns easy. This software tracks the returned item through the e commerce returns process from the time the customer contacts you to when a return check or credit is issued by your company. Ecommerce returns management software also makes it seamless for customers to request a return and a refund. There’s no human element where the process can get hung up. Some products even give customers the ability to print their own return UPS or USPS labels directly from their computer.
Shopify return policy
If you use Shopify to sell your merchandise online, this ecommerce platform makes handling returns easy with their Shopify returns app. This app makes processing Shopify returns and exchanges easy and helps boost your customer service. The Shopify returns management app generates a Shopify return form for your customers to use and allows a single customer to return multiple items on that form, if necessary.
At the end of every week, you can run a Shopify returns report to help you see where your returns are occurring and give you the information you need to handle any problems that may be happening in the fulfillment cycle.
The beauty of using a return policy template
Handling product returns quickly and efficiently is at the core of good customer service. It’s also essential that you have an easy-to-understand returns policy on your website and your product pages, so that customer know what to expect if they have an issue with their purchase. You want your returns policy to be the same for every customer. You don’t want to take the time or the risk of making a decision on every return whether to accept or reject it. That doesn’t mean that you have to write your returns policy from scratch. You can use a small business return policy generator.
There are many such templates available online and you can modify the template to best suit your situation and your needs. You can even find a no return policy template, if you don’t accept returns or if you don’t accept returns on things like customized products, a template to help you write a refund policy for services, or a cancellation and refund policy template for things like bed and breakfast stays or events.
If you sell via one of the many merchandising platforms, there is probably a useful template in the platform’s resources. For instance, there is a return policy template on Shopify and an Oberlo return policy template.
It’s easy to work with a return policy template. Word imports all of the data and you can save the document to your business computer’s hard drive.
How to learn from customer returns
Good ecommerce return management software can teach you a lot about your business. For example, reports generated by your software can tell you what percentage of online purchases are returned. If that number is high or you see a spike in returns, you’ll want to drill down deeper and look for what may be causing the high return ratio. Maybe there’s a mistake in the item’s image or description, maybe the quality of the item has started to slip, or maybe your items aren’t being packaged well and are getting damaged en route to your customer. Good product return rate analysis can help you
How to reduce customer returns
Learning how to reduce returns in e commerce is essential to the long-term stability of your business. Return rate statistics show that consumer returns in the retail industry in 2019 totaled more than $309 billion. Ecommerce returns accounted for $41 billion of that number. Learning how to reduce your return rate has never been more important for your business. Below are just a few tips for reducing your product returns statistics:
1. Include as much information as possible in your product description. You know what your product does and looks like. It may even be sitting on your desk or work table. However, your potential buyer can only your description and images to help them decide whether it’s the item that want or not. Many buyers search for products with a preconceived idea about the look or size of an item, whether or not that matches your item’s reality. Such buyers will be disappointed if your description doesn’t make very clear what you are actually offering.
2. Use videos if you can. Videos help to bring your products to life. Potential buyers can better envision themselves using or wearing your product when they see someone else with the item.
3. Make your sizing information clear. Forty percent of consumers say they have returned clothing they purchased online because it didn’t fit as they expected it would. One of the most common ecommerce mistakes regarding sizing information is to offer a single sizing chart for all items and all products. Unless you only offer a single item from one manufacturer for one type of buyer (women, girls, etc.), you’re chart is likely not as accurate as it should be. Better to offer different charts for different products and manufacturers.
how to reduce returns on Amazon can also be a problem, especially if you have Amazon ship your items directly to the customer. In addition to the above tips, which are applicable to any ecommerce business, you’ll want to use the Amazon-specific features, such as posting a 360-degree view of your product and enabling Amazon customer reviews. Of course, to increase your positive reviews, you’ll want to make sure that your product return procedure is quick and easy for customers.
Creating an order fulfillment process flow chart
An easy way to get a good handle on the product return process is to create a customer return process flow chart. This will give you a visual overview of the goods return process flow in your business. You can find templates for such a flow chart online. The beauty of this visual aid is that it can help you identify trouble spots easily and quickly so you can deal with the problems before you are inundated with returns. For example, a shipping process flow chart can help you identify if there is a problem getting products out to customers in a certain part of the country or if there is a hold-up at a particular warehouse.
The high cost of returns to online retailers
How much do returns cost retailers? You’d probably be surprised at the answer. According to the consulting firm CBRE, retail returns typically equal around eight percent of sales. However, ecommerce sellers can have a merchandise return rate of 15 percent or higher. This is obviously a less-than-ideal scenario. After all, you’re doing all of the work of a sale with none of the revenue. In fact, returns actually involve additional work.
A good retail returns management software program can help you keep your return rate in the single digits where it belongs. While some returns are inevitable, you can help reduce your return rate by making sure that your product descriptions are clear and accurate, that your images are large enough for customers to see all of the details of a product and including a sizing chart, if applicable. A whopping 22 percent of ecommerce returns can be traced to the item received not matching the item pictured on the product page.
You also might consider adding customer reviews to your product pages. Market researchers have found that nearly all online shoppers (95 percent) read reviews and that having reviews on your ecommerce pages can boost sales by more than 250 percent.
While returns are an inevitable part of any ecommerce business, you don’t have to let returns control the flow and profitability of your business. Using a good returns platform and writing an easy-to-understand returns policy from a template can go a long way to returns optimization and will allow you to identify potential trouble spots in your business that are causing a large number of returns before the problem gets out of hand.