Returns. It’s an inconvenience for all involved. Consumers don’t want to have to pack up and return products to the retailer any more than the e-commerce merchant wants to manage the process of inspecting and restocking the item. Yet, in a world of online shopping, the option to return an unwanted or damaged product is an absolute necessity to ensure customer satisfaction.
A 2019 survey from UPS found that, for 73% of shoppers, the overall returns experience impacts how likely they are to purchase from a given retailer again, and 68% say the experience impacts their overall perceptions of the retailer.
The main goal with any return policy is to avoid frustrating the customer. A bad return experience leads to decreased repeat customers which can greatly impact your bottom line. On the other hand, a positive return experience can boost customer satisfaction, and encourage customers to recommend your store to family and friends — the holy grail for any merchant.
Here’s what you can do to simplify the return process for you and your customers.
- Put the right systems in place.There is critical information every merchant needs to know regarding returned items. Why is the item being returned, what is the current condition of the item, and is the consumer seeking a refund or exchange. Online order management systems are an incredibly valuable tool when it comes to fast, accurate refunds for customers and helps you maintain inventory counts by re-stocking and re-selling the item as quickly as possible.
- Communicate clear policies and procedures.While your external website should clearly state return policies, having an internal process to authorize returns is just as important. A return merchandise authorization (RMA) is used to determine whether the customer should receive a refund or if the product requires repair. This authorization aligns with your return policy and, if applicable, a product’s warranty.
- Commit to doing returns right.A large part of doing returns right is making sure your customer service team is well-informed of your policies and puts the needs of the customer first. Your customer service team member should never show frustration toward the situation or the customer wishing to return an item. This interaction is incredibly delicate and should be approached with full knowledge of policies and respect for the consumer.