When business picks up, so does the number of returns you need to process.  It is estimated that 20-30% of all online orders will be returned. 
Returns keeping you up?  Four best practices.

Returns keeping you up? Four best practices.

Friday, September 2, 2016Lindsay Hampson When business picks up, so does the number of returns you need to process.  It is estimated that 20-30% of all online orders will be returned. 

While many eCommerce platforms provide options when processing returns (manual or automated), without a doubt, even automated returns can be cumbersome. 

Here are a few ways you can make the job of processing returns easier on your business, and in return (…speak of the devil) easy on your customers.  

ONE: Avoid returns in the first place
All great merchants must have great return policies.  Write yours down if you haven’t already: keep it simple and make it clearly visible to anyone visiting your site.  Make buyers feel confident that you have them covered if they change their mind on a purchase.  If you don’t, data shows that they will bounce from your store forever. 

If your site says “All sales final”, now is the time to delete that.  We’ll wait for you.  Ok, welcome back! 

Shopify wrote a blog called “9 Tips on Creating an eCommerce Return Policy, if you want more advice from a pro.  

What else can you do to avoid returns?  Be honest.  Take realistic pictures, and write clear descriptions or your product or service.  It will only end up costing you in return fees if you mislead buyers with unrealistic expectations.  Write in bullet-form, and keep it simple.  And, be sure to include the timeframe for returns.  A good starting point would be 60 days.  

TWO: Lean on your eCommerce partner
Go through that contract you signed with your eCommerce partner (it’s probably buried in your inbox) and see what aids they provide to you to make returns easier. 

For example, “eBay gives you the flexibility to customize how you handle returns based on your business needs with options to automate your returns or manually approve specific requests.”

•    Approve returns automatically or manually—you choose
•    Offer automatic refunds and tell the buyer to keep the item
•    Choose your preferred return shipping label
•    Route returns to specific addresses
•    Offer replacements
•    Include RMAs and structured restocking fees

Whether you are using eBay, Amazon, WooCommerce, 3D Cart, BigCommerce, Magento, Miva, Mozu, Volusion, Shopify, Nexternal, etc, check in to see what they can do to support you.  

THREE: Think it through  
Spend some time thinking your process through.  For example:
1.    Someone orders an item.  
2.    An order is created. 
3.    inventory goes down.
4.    You send out a shipping notice. 
5.    You create an invoice.  

A return is all of these things, but backwards.  And, likely manual, such as:  
1.    Customer alerts you that they want a return.
2.    You locate the original order deocument.
3.    You get a shipping slip to them. 
4.    You reverse the invoice.  
5.    Inventory goes up when item returned. (unless it is damaged)

This is really only successful if you can quickly and easily locate the source document (or the original order).  

FOUR: Automate.  Count money, not sheep.
Passing data to the source or integrate right into your system – either work.  We tag along and do data automation you require.  

It all boils down to these benefits:
•    Reduce deployment time by using a prebuilt ‘adaptor’
•    Eliminate manual data entry for orders and returns to avoid costly errors
•    Increase the speed of data exchange, improving customer service efficiency
•    Upgrade your ERP or add connections (eCommerce, EDI, CRM) with ease
•    Free up time and resources to focus on your business

Build your own order and return plan now.  Try our blueprint builder or live chat with us!