How to avoid and manage returns cost-effectively?

Whenever I place an order online, a fear of being delivered with wrong or damaged products, at least strikes my mind for once. However, I’m lucky enough to get all my online purchases intact.

Similarly, online shoppers prefer to shop from sites that allow has a quick returns policy in place.

Handling returns can eat up your capital, and sellers don’t realize as such expenses get added to the operation costs.

In this blog, we will discuss on ways that will help sellers understand the process of returns management and what methods can help them perform a cost-effective returns management process.

How does returns for ecommerce work?

In case of wrong or damaged products delivered the customer requests for returns.  The seller will then arrange transportation to the customer and then back to the warehouse. And, if replacement product is being sent, transportation is again arranged back to the customer.

What are the major costs involved in managing returns?

1- Inventory carrying costs

2- Transportation costs

3- Warehouse space costs

Each of the above mentioned return activities can prove to be expensive if not planned well, and even worst, unable to offer instant solution can hamper relationship with your customers.

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Let’s take a look at some facts:

A combined report by UPS (leading shipping service) and (was conducted to understand the expectation of customers when it comes to returns):

– 67% review returns policy before making purchase

– 68% expect free shipping in case of returns

– 58% expect an easy to understand returns process

– 47% want easy-to-print return labels.

If your customers are finding a hassle in dealing with returns then, it’s time you need to revamp returns management strategy.

So, what can you do?

Firstly, design a systematic flow for your returns process

1-Do you have clear returns policy?

Your customers who receive a faulty product will already be in a bad mood, and making returns procedures longer, will take no time for them to spread a bad word about your brand. And, even worst you end losing customers who could have been your future potential customers.

The first thing, make it a point to use the simplest language and create a dedicated returns policy page to allow customers a self-service returns experience. To make it easy, include steps to return the product on every label you attach with the customer’s order.

2- Is your returns procedure explainable?

Secondly, ensure you clearly mention the returns, refunds, and shipping information making it easy for your customers.

About Returns

Mention the turnaround time for accepting returns (in most cases 30 day return policy), so you don’t end up disputing and spending money on customers who actually are not eligible for the returns.

About Refunds

In case of refunds, make sure you mention your entire approval method, so your customers are aware before they claim one.

About shipping costs

If you don’t offer free shipping on returns, clearly mention it. And, in case of refunds let your customers know that the shipping charges for the returned item will be deducted.

3- Are you able to print returns label?

Annoyed by the idea of returning the product, customers won’t like to wait for the return label.

Integrating your business with an excellent shipping management solution, you can quickly print returns label on-the-go.  Therefore, if you customers have misplaced the label, you can immediately email a copy to them, avoiding delays in their returns process.

Considering the above points, will surely help you reduce the hassle of dealing with unqualified returns request and save enough time and costs spent behind convincing them.

Secondly, focus on the major root cause of returns

Offline store allows customers to touch and feel products; hence, it automatically eliminates the risk of returns. Not the same situation in the online world. Therefore, ensure your products are crystal clear, and gives an about the quality.

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Offer mirror reflection product products

The image of your products is the first thing your customers will notice and it partially influences their purchase decisions. Ensure your products images are clear and detailed that showcases the actual look for the product, and is not overdone.

Third, adopt these effective returns solution that will positively impact your business’s financial performance

Integrate with the correct shipping solution provider

Take time and research about the shipping solution that offers in-built returns management features. Many shipping solution are already helping sellers to improve returns experience for both, you and your customers.

Leading shipping solution

UPS, FedEx, DHL, are few great examples that not only to help manage, but also, gain competitive advantage over return by allowing them to work with the industry leaders.

Wrapping up

Returns for eCommerce business have always been an ongoing battle, and there will always be disputes between you and your customers.

However, by making sure you have a clear policy and working with the correct shipping solution that covers your product line, will surely help you minimize headaches that come along with returns.

Good Luck!

Savio Fernandes

Savio Fernandes

Savio Fernandes is a writer who influences. Writing for over three years at Orderhive, he is currently focused in offering eCommerce and retail solutions for start-ups and medium business owners.

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