Online shopping is more relevant than ever today, meaning that returns are not as simple as they once were. While some omnichannel retailers have both brick and mortar stores and online stores, many ecommerce stores exist only online, which can make dealing with returned items more difficult and costly. In addition to that, if your returns policy is executed poorly, it can hurt your brand reputation and customer satisfaction. However, if you have an effective reverse logistics program as part of your ecommerce fulfillment services, it can help you gain your customers’ trust and loyalty, and even increase sales.
Ecommerce Return Statistics
There are a number of ecommerce return statistics that truly illustrate the importance of having an intuitive and easy return policy. At least 30 percent of products ordered online are returned for various reasons, and 41 percent of shoppers buy products with the intent of returning them. Shoppers who make returns after receiving items cite damage, incorrect items and misrepresented items as reasons for returning products ordered online. Having a transparent return policy is very important to customers as well: 67 percent of online shoppers read the returns policy before making a purchase. While it might seem like having a liberal returns policy could cause abuse, 92 percent of customers state they will buy something from an online store again if returns are easy. When it comes to the returns process itself, 47 percent of people want easy-to-print return labels and 58 percent want a no questions asked return policy. 69 percent of shoppers are even deterred from buying from a certain brand if they have to pay for return shipping. Having an ecommerce returns policy that is easy for customers is important and can be instrumental for improving your customer experience, but it’s very important to build these processes strategically.
At least 30 percent of products ordered online are returned for various reasons, and 41 percent of shoppers buy products with the intent of returning them.
Ecommerce Returns Processing Best Practices
Effectively managing ecommerce returns can be tricky. This is partly due to the fact that a flexible and easy return policy is very important to your consumers, however, too liberal of a return policy leaves room for abuse and can cause your business to lose money. There are several returns processing best practices that you can implement to ensure you are making the best choice for your customers and your profit margin. A customer with a low number of returns is not always associated with maximum profitability, which is why having a forgiving return program can be beneficial. When creating or updating your return policy, it’s important to look at current data to align return rates with net sales to learn who your most and least profitable customers are—and the frequency of returns from this group of customers. This can help you decide the best way to achieve customer satisfaction with returns, whether that means free returns, store credit or a number of other solutions.
Next, decide how to deal with serial returners who either buy items to wear once and return them, or purchase several different sizes in the same item to try them on and return the ones that don’t fit. There are a few ways to combat this, one is giving shoppers the option to return the item for store credit or charging a service fee for refunding the original payment method to make exchanging the item less attractive. Making your returns policy clear before purchase will help your buyers manage their expectations. The last piece is comprehensively reviewing your actual customer return data and coming up with a policy that works for your business, and a strategy for efficient reverse logistics.
Integration for Seamless Ecommerce Returns
One of the most important factors in ecommerce returns is managing the financial details quickly and accurately in order to meet your customers’ expectations. This can be accomplished by effective integration between a warehouse management system (WMS) and an order management system (OMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This integration allows returns to be initiated in the WMS while inventory and financial components can begin processing immediately. A WMS is essential for managing complex returns and preventing inefficiencies, which can lead to wasted time and resources. Having a tight integration between your WMS and OMS or ERP is one of the most important things you can do to ensure effective reverse logistics, successful business operations and happy, loyal customers—and at ITS, we’re here to help with that.
Ecommerce Returns Management through ITS Logistics
Research suggests that most online retailers’ supply chains are not equipped to efficiently handle ecommerce returns. When distribution and fulfillment centers don’t have the processes or resources in place to determine what to do with returned items, it can lead to lost inventory, and can reduce profit by up to 30 percent. Establishing a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for reverse logistics can make ecommerce returns management much easier, and help you capitalize on returns, and resell some of that inventory in the secondhand and discount retail store market or integrate it back into your supply chain. At ITS Logistics, our supply chain experts have years of experience with reverse logistics and can help you optimize your return policy to benefit both your customers and your business. Our WMS is set up to integrate with your OMS or ERP system so we can ensure that returns are processed quickly, and your customers get their return credits quickly. We also use data from our WMS to create processes to manage and track returned products within our distribution and fulfillment centers to ensure that we are handling your returns in the most efficient way possible.
When distribution and fulfillment centers don’t have the processes or resources in place to determine what to do with returned items, it can lead to lost inventory, and can reduce profit by up to 30 percent.
Achieve Ecommerce Returns Best Practices by Partnering with ITS Logistics
Although in the ideal world, ecommerce returns would be kept to a minimum, that’s not always possible, especially in the fashion and apparel industry. Having a customer-centric procedure for how you handle returns can help you increase your number of loyal customers. We know how delicate this process is and how much it can affect your conversion rate and profits. When you outsource your ecommerce returns management to ITS, we use our warehouse management systems and business intelligence analytics to ensure that we are handling your returns in the most efficient way possible. We also have a continuous improvement department that looks specifically at reverse logistics in e commerce processes within our warehouses to make sure we are using resources efficiently and constantly improving our services. Our goal is to provide you and your customers with a best-in-class returns experience. Let ITS handle your returns, while you focus on managing your business. To learn more about our ecommerce returns policies, call us today!
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