Make Ecommerce Returns Easier for Customers

Order fulfillment returns processingIf you thought that shipping your orders out on time was all your fulfillment services had to do to create a happy and satisfied customer, think again. A new study from comScore shows that retailers have a long way to go when it comes to improving their returns and exchanges policy.

According to the survey, an easy-to-understand and uncomplicated returns policy is one of the key factors in improving customer satisfaction. 63% of the shoppers surveyed said that they studied a retailer’s returns policy prior to making a purchase, and close to 50% said that they would buy more from a retailer with a lenient returns policy. The findings further show that a hassle-free returns and exchanges process ranked high in importance for shoppers, but many retailers still aren’t paying much attention to the impact their returns process has on customer satisfaction.

Returns can make your purse a little lighter considering the extra logistical costs incurred- but in the end, a customer-friendly policy will help increase sales. Always look at the lifetime value of the customer. A few extra dollars today on a well-managed return can translate into lifetime loyalty, and fantastic referrals. So how can you ensure that your carts do not get abandoned due to a less than convenient shipping policy? Here are few tips.

  • Visibility: Put it where people can see it. Create a returns page, similar to an FAQ or About Us page, so that customers can read your returns policy with a simple click. Make sure it is displayed clearly and boldly. If you have it buried on a random page somewhere, your customer will probably just go somewhere else.
  • Simplicity: Your policy should be easily understood, not confusing. Return shipping costs, timing, records of receipts and invoices should all be clearly outlined, both on your site as well as on the customer’s packing slip and order confirmation. Work with your outsourced contact center partner to make sure that they are representing your returns process to the customers the way you intended it. Check in with your order fulfillment warehouse staff to verify that they are processing returns in accordance with your terms, refurbishing where appropriate, and
  • Ease: Whatever the reason for the return, you need to make it easy for the customer to get the box back to you. Offer multiple options for returns – either pick it up from the point of delivery, or allow customers to drop it off at a nearby freight center. You can even include a fully addressed ‘return pouch’ with a pre-printed return shipping label that allows dissatisfied customers to make returns or exchange free of charge.

Do you have a transparent returns policy in place or are you still struggling to find a solution to your return woes? Are your returns eating into your fulfillment center’s profitability? Whether it is a logistics issue or a fulfillment-related requirement, we at Fifth Gear are happy to step in and offer serious solutions to complicated problems.