Returns Management: Can You Afford Not to Offer Free Returns?
Your prospects seek it out, your customers demand it – the watchword of today’s retail market is the great differentiator: free.
In other words, “What are you willing to do for me today?”
Your answer to that question is likely to be a major contributor to the decision to purchase. So, you offer free shipping (within reason), along with a comprehensive product warranty and maybe even a satisfaction guarantee. But, while that’s all well and good, consumers today also expect you to offer a free (and hassle-free) returns policy.
If you aren’t willing to make that commitment, you may struggle to grow your business. But what if you simply can’t afford to offer this incentive? You may soon discover that you can’t afford not to.
The High Cost of Returns Management
Managing returns costs money. How much money depends on several factors, such as the nature of your business, the types of products you sell and your return policies.
However, if you don’t have effective processes and procedures in place for managing your returns, the lion’s share of your reverse business costs will come in the form of runaway labor and shipping costs.
Indirectly, inefficiencies in your reverse business eat into your bottom line in the form of lost sales and customer dissatisfaction.
Getting Reverse Business Costs Under Control
To give consumers what they want (and demand), you have to find ways to improve efficiency and lower costs on the reverse business side.
Tightening up your returns policies can help. Offering free returns is critical but that doesn’t mean you can’t put reasonable limits on your generosity. Finding ways to improve the warranty repair process, if that’s part of your business model, can reduce the volume of returns you must process. Negotiating more favorable shipping costs can also help you get costs under control.
The quality of your products also matters because, the fewer product failures you have the fewer returns you have to manage.
Another potential influence on reverse business costs, particularly in e-commerce, is how well you represent your product. The more information you provide consumers, the better they can determine if your products meet their needs.
Use Technology Solutions to Lower Returns Management Costs
Managing your reverse business becomes exponentially easier – and less expensive – when you adopt a comprehensive technology platform.
A technology solution for returns management can reduce labor costs by automating as many aspects of the process as possible. Providing an automated option for those customers who prefer to process their return online will also improve the customer experience while relieving some pressure on your returns team. Similarly, when your customers can get an instant online answer about the status of their return, repair or replacement, you’ll have happier customers and eliminate many of those burdensome status update calls.
Using returns management software to handle reverse logistics can also strengthen your brand and help build customer loyalty.
ReverseLogix helps some of the world’s most well-respected businesses – including Samsonite, Haier, Electrolux and Cole Haan – unlock dollars from their returns. Our industry-leading SaaS platform is simple and affordable to implement and you can start seeing results almost immediately. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you provide free returns for your customers and reduce returns management costs at the same time.