The Post-Holiday Craziness: Handling eCommerce Returns
Wednesday, January 6, 2016Kelly Nelson
If you’re at all successful with your eCommerce store, you will most likely have a few returns coming your way this month. Your volume of returns is generally a soft indication of how much inventory you were able to move prior. Unfortunately for most businesses, more product out the door leads to more returns.
Following peak selling seasons, handling returns efficiently becomes increasingly important. They can quickly become a headache if not organized and streamlined.
The US census bureau has concluded that eCommerce grew 14% in 2014, while retail only grew by 3.8%. Although the jury is still out on 2015, it’s expected to become a $1.5 billion industry (Shorr.com).
That being said, online returns are not just a one-time thing, they’re certainly not going anywhere, and this is a season you need to prepare for as an online retailer.
While your return season has already begun, and you probably have a system in place, here are a few best practices that you may want to consider moving forward.
Free and Easy is Important:
This biggest part about making returns easy, is making them free for all customers. Customers are less likely to come back if they don’t have that easy “back button” for returns. Research shows that this can potentially increase sales between 58% and 357% (Shorr.com).
This concept is attractive for customers and reduces hesitation at the time of purchase.
Remove the hassle:
When the item is shipped to the customer, make sure that you include the return label on the package; reassuring them that they have that “back button” available to them just in case. You told them upon purchase, now encourage them further upon delivery.
In addition, consider these tactics:
- Provide the ability to return merchandise to a brick and mortar location
- Automate all refunds and provide free shipping on all returns
- Provide a customer service phone number
- Ensure a simple and clear process with re-sealable packaging
There is still a small part of the consumer population that still prefer a face to face interaction. Having a customer service live chat, or helpline available to assist in any questions, concerns or comments goes a long way.
As you probably already know, returns can be a tricky process. With that being said, you need to ensure that you have a streamlined and comprehensive approach to it; this is crucial to your eCommerce sales cycle!
How do you streamline your returns? Provide some feedback in the comments below!