The state of online shopping and returns is challenging for many online businesses. Early ecommerce sites like Zappos and Amazon set a high standard for offering consumers free shipping on the front end to receive the products, but also free shipping if they decide to return the items later. That puts other retailers in the difficult position of needing to figure out how to offer a similar level of service in order to attract and retain customers.
Without a streamlined reverse logistics process, returns can be a hassle and could be costing your company a lot of money. When you do have a simple and efficient returns process, it can lead to repeat customers and can also boost your sales without costing you more money.
Step 1: Create or Update Your Returns Policy
A reverse logistics process begins with your returns policy, and if you don’t have one written out and easily available on your website, that could be costing you. Surveys reveal that more than 60% of people review a returns policy before making an online purchase, and 80% of them expect the returns process to be easy. Even if you are offering merchandise credit or exchanges (rather than full refunds), the process still needs to be easy on the customer end.
Display the information about returns prominently on your website so it’s easy to find. In addition, make sure all your staff and customer service agents have a copy of the policy and follow it consistently with every customer.
Step 2: Digitize Your Process
Manual returns processes are a hassle and are more likely to result in errors (like missing a refund or credit, causing anger and frustration for your customers). It also makes it harder to track the products coming back so you can make sure they get back out on the shelf if they can be resold, or they are disposed of properly through other channels. Creating a digital trail from the first moment a customer initiates a return to the moment the product is resold or disposed can help you maximize profit or minimize losses on returns. It’s also helpful to have it all in a single software platform so everyone—from the customer service representative to the warehouse stocker and the refund processor—knows what is going on without manually transferring information back and forth.
In part two of this post we’ll cover two more steps to streamline your process. In the meantime, schedule a demo to find out more about how the ReverseLogix platform can help you better manage your returns and improve customer satisfaction and profit margins.