As returns are the last touchpoint customers have with you during a sales transaction, their experience here can highly influence their lasting impression of your brand. That’s why it’s important to understand the wants and needs of your consumer base. In order to craft a return policy that caters to their desires, while also adding value to your aftersales operation.
Integrating customer-centered features not only increases your brand image and maintains high customer satisfaction levels, but it can also save time, protect profit margins and inform future product and service improvements.
What are some examples of customer favorite features?
- Free returns
- Fast refund lead times
- Transparency about the status of a return
- Good customer service communication channels
- A flexible return policy with an extended think-time
- A variety of ways to return, whether this be in-store, online, via a local postal drop-off location
- Greener return options such as paperless labels, an environmentally conscious transport network, and second-life opportunities for returned items
Free, fast, and flexible returns are highly valued by consumers. It’s now also the norm that returns should be as seamless and convenient as the sales process. By investing in your returns solution by partnering with the right suppliers, network and experts, you’ll discover a wide variety of ways to optimize your returns and improve customer experience.
What are the top benefits of a customer-centered returns policy?
- Encourage Future Spending
- Elevate Your Brand Image
- Get Inspired to Innovate
Returns can no longer be an afterthought. In fact, when embraced and invested in, they can work as an effective marketing tool to bolster your brand image, meet new customers and encourage existing shoppers to make future sales.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the general rise in popularity of online shopping, e-commerce during the holiday season of 2020 was busier than ever. Insights show that approximately 60% of these sales fell into the category of possible returns. In previous years, this figure has been around 30%, and only 9% for brick-and-mortar store returns.
Proportionally this means that now over half of customers are likely to engage with a retailer’s returns policy. Additionally, this also indicates that a rise in order volumes not only results in naturally higher return volumes, but also a higher percentage of returns.
With such a large uptake in returns, it’s now more important than ever before for your brand to invest in a return solution that will wow customers and encourage them to shop with you again. An opportunity to gain back the revenue lost to costly returns, through repeat spending by a loyal consumer base.
Tracking your customers’ interaction with your return process can also inspire innovations that will help grow your core business. This may well be improvements in your approach to returns, but it could also include developments in other areas.
For example, if you’re tracking return reasons during the after-sales process this can provide you with an array of valuable data. If most of your customers are returning because a product did not meet their expectations, then perhaps you could improve your online descriptions or photos. Whereas if sizing seems to be an issue, perhaps you could review this, or provide more accurate sizing advice in the pre-sales stage.
This data, gathered through the return process, is an indispensable tool that will help you improve to learn your customers better while improving service and operations.