Consumers have become more informed, connected, and have more options when it comes to shopping. They have more freedom and the power to return products if they find them unsatisfactory. As an e-commerce company, it is very that you manage product returns effectively. As much as this process is complex, it is a traditional practice in the retail industry. Handling product returns can be a challenge, but it could be key to the success of your e-commerce business. Here are a few recommended tips for managing returns for your e-commerce company.
Implement an Effective Return Policy
The first step to effectively managing product returns is actually having a return policy. Creating and publishing a company return policy has numerous advantages. For instance, a return policy builds trust with potential customers. It does so by demonstrating that your business isn’t after scamming anyone. With increased trust, more people will purchase your products, hence increased sales. Furthermore, a return policy clearly documents what customers can return and what they can expect from you. All these factors underline the benefits of having well-structured return policies.
Ensure Returns are Convenient for Customers
Customers have varying needs and preferences. The same applies to reasons they want to return a product. Besides, the way they want to make a return may also vary. If your e-commerce company can accommodate all these differences, it puts itself in a strong position against competitors. Here are some ways you can make returns convenient for your customer.
Address Product Returns on your Website
On your business website, include detailed content on your return policy. Make sure that this content is easy to locate and read. Furthermore, avoid using jargon that can confuse the customer. It is recommended that you use unrestrictive, friendly, and simple language when describing your return policy. If possible, you should also allow the customer to start the product returning process right on that page. This will make things easier for the customer.
It would help if you put significant efforts into addressing this matter on your site. One common and costly mistake that e-commerce businesses make is neglecting the return policy pages. They put so much effort and money into designing their site but care less about return policy pages. You should ensure that your return policy page has readable, usable, and user-friendly content, just like the rest of your business website. By doing so, you will effectively manage returns.
Accept Returns via Physical Stores or Shipment
A good percentage of customers prefer to return their online purchases in a physical store. If you have a physical location that customers can return products, you have the opportunity to upsell. In addition, if your business has a lot of UK customers, you may want to set up a UK mailbox for returns. This way, the packages can get consolidated and sent to you at once instead of trickling in a little at a time. You can save a good amount of money by doing so.
Provide Pre-Printed Return Labels
Providing pre-printed return labels makes it easy for customers to start the process. All they will have to do is attach it to the product box and drop it off at the nearest collection point. This makes the entire process simple and straightforward. Providing pre-printed return labels saves customers the daunting task of figuring out the right label — keep in mind that shipping labels are somehow confusing. Your customers will appreciate the convenience and will trust your e-commerce business even more.
Protect Your Business as Well
Managing product returns doesn’t only involve taking care of customers —you should protect your business as well. Unfortunately, some customers might try taking advantage of your convenient return policy. It is important to protect your e-commerce business from such dishonest customers. Here are several ways you can do so:
Have Reasonable Time Limits on your Return Policy
In most cases, it is understandable when a customer takes 30, 60, or even 90 days to return a product. However, it might be problematic if a customer returns a product they purchased several years ago. This underlines the importance of setting a limit in your return policy. Setting a clear time limit on when customers can return products will help prevent a lot of unnecessary expenses. Some less-than-honest customers are after purchasing a product, using it for a certain period, and returning it for various reasons. Setting a time limit will significantly reduce such unfortunate cases. This is one of the most common and effective ways of managing product returns.
Offer Free Return Shipping
Established retailers may have the resources and capital to cater for return shipping, but your growing e-commerce business may not be in that position. If you find that free return shipping will significantly impact your finances, you should consider limiting the return policy. One way you can do so is by offering free returns only when a certain cart size is reached. In simpler terms, you can provide free shipping on orders over $50, $100, etc. This protects your business by avoiding unnecessary expenses, i.e., spending $50 in shipping costs on a $10 product. Besides, this setup also gives your business an upsell opportunity. Customers that meant to make an order worth $60 may end up spending $110 to avoid shipping costs.
Implement Measures to Avoid Fraud
One of the best ways to prevent fraud is by providing pre-printed return labels. These labels help prevent fake and fraudulent returns. It is important to make sure that these labels contain all the essential information. Such information includes quantities, invoice numbers, batch numbers, etc. By doing so, you will know exactly what a return package contains when you receive one.
Effectively managing product returns is vital for any e-commerce company. Many customers prefer simple and straightforward return policies that make the process easy. As an e-commerce business, there are several ways you can ensure that; some of them include implementing an effective return policy, ensuring returns are convenient for customers and having reasonable time limits.