In part one of this blog post we went over how important it is to have a fair and simple returns policy, especially for ecommerce sites that are competing with large retailers like Amazon and Zappos that offer free shipping to get products and often free returns if you need to send them back. Retailers who sell online need to find ways to compete with these policies, and having a returns process that is streamlined can significantly improve your ability to manage a growing number of online returns.

Here are two more steps you can take to streamline your process, which can lead to happy, repeat customers.

Step 3: Track Return Items that Come Back

One of the ways that many companies lose money on returned items is simply losing tracking of them once they arrive back in the warehouse or facility. Some seasonal items or other personal items may not be re-sellable, but often you can restock it and sell it, even if you have to do it at a discount. Defective items can often be returned to the vendor, but there may be specific timeframes around it that you have to follow, while in other cases you may be able to donate items and take advantage of tax breaks.

The key in all of these situations is having a process that immediately identifies what you can do with a returned item, then quickly taking steps to maximize the value of an item after it comes back to your store or warehouse. The more time that goes by, the less valuable your items will be, and the fewer options you are likely to have for disposing of it in a way that recoups some of the COGS.

Step 4: Use Data to Improve Your Store

Tracking information about your returns—why it was returned, how often, and from where—can help you identify changes on the front end to reduce returns. For example, if you keep getting returns with complaints of a product that doesn’t work, you can put pressure on your vendor to supply better products or find other alternatives. If you get a lot of clothing returns for sizing issues, adding a sentence to the description to help people get a better size and fit can reduce returns.

Without verifiable data to back up this information, you will likely have a harder time showing your vendors that there is a frequent issue with their products, or recognizing the need to update product information in your online store.

Taking steps to streamline your process is essential for your own profit margins and for your ability to attract and retain customers. ReverseLogix has a platform designed to help with your returns management. Find out more about our reverse logistics software by scheduling a demo today.