3 Tips for Managing eCommerce Returns

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For an eCommerce retailer, selling products online has a wide array of benefits. Without a brick-and-mortar storefront, an eCommerce retailer can experience decreased overhead and can optimise inventory stock with just-in-time manufacturing. Warehouse space might be easier to manage than a fully furnished storefront as well. eCommerce also allows you to reach a broader scope of markets. As more retailers have a prominent online presence, the fundamental operations of businesses are starting to shift. They are managing their inventory stock differently and optimising delivery processes.

However, when a consumer orders a product online, chances are that they have not tried it on or seen it in person. Let’s say someone orders a pair of boots to go with a dress they are wearing to an event next weekend. They have scoured the internet to find the right colour, heel height and the exact type of leather to match their dress. Looking for these boots at 20 different brick-and-mortar stores would have taken a long time. So this consumer is excited at the prospect of ordering the perfect boots without ever having to leave the comfort of her own home. However, she isn’t familiar with this brand and doesn’t know if they will fit right. She hopes they do, but with online shopping, it’s always a risk your customers take. That’s why it’s important to have a streamlined and user-friendly system in place to manage eCommerce returns.

State your return policy

Use simple language and easy to understand graphics to make your return policy accessible to your customers. Be upfront with your return policy and make sure customers know what they are getting into before they click the purchase button. Surprises make customers frustrated and can lead to dissatisfaction and a potential loss of business. Make the policy prominent and reassure customers the return service they will receive.

Offer free returns

Although there are costs for returning products, don’t pass these costs onto your customers. An eCommerce retailer needs to do an overall cost-benefit analysis of free or paid returns. When customers know they can just send back the boots for free and get a new size, they will most likely be satisfied and return for future business. If you don’t offer free returns, the boots customer might just look for a pair on another site that does offer that perk. She wants certainty that she will have the right boots, in the right size for her event.

Put a return postage slip in with your delivery

Having to print a return postage slip is another step that adds hassle for your customers, especially if they don’t own a printer. Make it easy for your customers to return products by providing clear instructions and a pre-printed return slip. This way they stay satisfied and you receive your inventory stock back quickly so you can turn around and sell it again.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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