Returned products are often viewed as lost sales, and the process of returns seen frequently as a cost-draining operation. However, this is only the case when brands do not embrace returns by investing more in reverse logistics.
An optimized returns flow can actually, in many cases, delivery an array of benefits for retailers. A crowd-pleasing returns policy, conducted well, can build customer lifetime value and secure future sales. Resulting in protected profit margins, less product waste, and a bolstered brand image.
Returns can no longer be overlooked, especially when customers are increasingly expecting this process to be as quick, easy and convenient as ordering a product online.
Studies have even shown that over 30% of shoppers would not buy again from a brand they enjoy after receiving just one negative experience.
With this in mind, returns are an essential part of the overall online shopping experience. Therefore, it’s important to get them right to secure a loyal consumer base that will spend with you again.
Read on to learn our insights into what factors help to secure this…
Offering customers fast and hassle-free returns is the cornerstone to any seamless returns stream. When shoppers are promised quick refund lead times, this garners a sense of trust towards the merchant. This sense of security will encourage customers to shop again with the brand, safe in the knowledge that they can expect their money back quickly if a product is not suitable. This is an especially valued feature currently when Covid-19 restrictions have led to physical store closures, which formally enabled instant refund processing.
Fast refunds are central to a customer-focused return policy. Insights have highlighted that brands who place customer experience at the core of their operations can expect over five times the revenue that those who fail to do so.
To secure quick refunds for customers, brands need to ensure that their reverse logistics setup is equipped with the following: a variety of ways for customers to return, an array of postal carrier partners, ample return center facilities and smart technology, such as warehouse software systems. All of which, integrated together or separately, helps to increase efficiency and speed up the return and refund process.
A Diverse Returns Policy
Offering a diverse and flexible set of policies is yet another way to elevate the return experience for customers. As consumer demands are wide-ranging and often dependent on individual customers’ needs, it’s important to offer a return policy that will suit every customer. Often factors such as age, lifestyle, budget or location can vastly change what someone prioritizes with regards to online shopping and returns.
However, one desire that unites all customers is the demand for ease and convenience. Something that an agile return policy is able to provide. Many brands are integrating pleasing features such as an extended think-time, various send-in options, after-pay capabilities, paperless labels and free returns. All of which ensure that customers of all ages, budgets and locations have access to a great experience that will drive future spending.
A Transparent Returns Flows
To garner trust with customers it’s vital to be transparent during the return process. This includes making sure that they have access to on-demand data and good communication channels.
One study explained how over 80% of its participants stated that it was very important to receive an immediate response to any sales-related queries.
That’s why it’s essential for ecommerce retailers to consider how they can effectively update and communicate with their customers during the sales process. As returns are the last touch point that customers have with a brand during a sales transaction, it’s important that returns data is also presented transparently.
Although customer service management can be costly, both in terms of time and money, managing customer experiences remains a vital part of an ecommerce transaction. By ensuring customers have access to efficient communication channels, and receive notifications at key moments during the return process, brands can actually decrease the number of customer service requests, saving on the aforementioned costs.