Smarter Returns Management in 10 Simple Steps

Many ecommerce retailers refrain from investing in their return management process, and it’s hard to blame them.  

Returns can be expensive and time-consuming. Before partnering with ReturnLogic, it commonly took a week or even longer for our clients to fully process a return.  

The warehousing costs and physical touches required can quickly diminish any potential profit margin on the items.   

On top of that, many returned products are no longer worth full value. For one of our retailers, over 30% of items returned in 2019 weren’t suitable for resale.   

Fortunately, multiple return management software solutions have stepped in to improve the return process for retailers and their shoppers.  

ReturnLogic enhances the ecommerce return experience for shoppers, expedites return management operations for retailers, and provides valuable insights so retailers can continue to grow their profits.  

10 Simple Steps to Improve Return Management

Here are ten steps for retailers to improve your return management process, start reducing their returns, and profitably scale their ecommerce business.  

1. Be Lenient with your Return Policies

Your return policies impact your shopper conversion. If visitors don’t feel confident that they can return products, they won’t feel confident in purchasing products.  

In addition, the return experience itself impacts the customer experience. Imagine that each shopper who goes through your return process tells a friend: what sort of experience will they share?  

Return policies have a remarkable impact on the success of your business.  

2. Track as Much as You Can

One missing button on a shirt seems minor, but ten returns with missing buttons in two days can pull an entire shipment of shirts off the shelf. Small observations help you discover big problems.   

It all starts with collecting clean, actionable data. Consistency and precision in your product data are key. Track the issues that frequently arise with your returns.

ReturnLogic allows retailers to see which products get returned for what reasons to help them improve products and descriptions in the future. Without quality data and tracking capabilities, prevalent trends may go undetected.  Accessing this data will improve your return management process. 

3. Prioritize People and Processes within Your Business

The people and processes within your organization are every bit as important as the products you sell or the technology you use.  

Keep in mind that the most impactful observations often come from those who most frequently interact with products and shoppers.  

So, it’s imperative that your employees feel heard and have the resources to record and report any issues they may find.  

4. Move Beyond a Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are helpful but may not be ideal for advanced product and shopper analyses.  

After sifting through endless rows of data, many retailers struggle to get information from insight.  

Leverage the power of return analytics software to aggregate customer feedback easily so you can get straight to the insights and improve your return management process.  

5. Embrace Return Optimization

Return Optimization involves leveraging return data to enhance the shopper experience, improve operational efficiency, and grow your profits.  

Accept that returns are a part of ecommerce. You will never eliminate returns, but you can reduce returns and provide your shoppers with a smooth return experience.  

Keep in mind that maximizing profit’s more important than minimizing returns. 

6. Start with Basic Analyses, then Drill Deeper

To collect real insights, we need more than data. We need a logical flow of analyses.  

Return rates and reasons are an excellent place to start. They provide a quick summary of your product returns.  

Once you identify areas for potential improvement, zoom into return comments and customer-level information to gather precise, contextual feedback.  

In return comments, you will find targeted insights directly from your shoppers.

7. Connect All Parts of Your Business

Returns are often not the responsibility of any single department. They’re a natural and pervasive part of business in ecommerce, so the best solutions require a holistic approach.  

A culture of collaboration – supported by mechanized communication – can align the goals of different teams and produce better outcomes for both your shoppers and your business.   

This level of connection will allow your company to streamline insights from Customer Service to actions within your Merchandising, Design, or Manufacturing teams to improve your return management process.  

8. Act Upon Insights Immediately

When you identify a problem, try to find its cause as efficiently as possible.  

One apparel retailer confirmed that the quality of a particular fabric wasn’t as the factory had specified by looking at return comments. The team traced the faulty material to the products and removed the SKU from their website before more shoppers could encounter the issue.  

If there’s a glaring issue, respond immediately to minimize any adverse impact down the line. 

9. Transform Returns into an Opportunity for Loyalty

As a retailer, you try to maximize the customer experience in all aspects of your ecommerce site. The return process should be no different. You can reimagine returns as a retention opportunity.   

The truth is, returns don’t have to cause churn, and they don’t have to diminish your customer lifetime value.  

10. Implement Software that Integrates with Existing Systems

To make the most of its impact, return management software needs to access data stores within your business. Make sure its API enables integration with your inventory management and warehouse management software.   

These software solutions ultimately exist for one reason: to help you create value for your shoppers. When your tools speak together, it’s better for everyone.  

Click here to download 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Return management Software  

Make Return Management to Work for You

To find the answers to many of the most pervasive questions in ecommerce, look at the data. Adopt these ten points, and you’ll be well-positioned to take control of returns and capitalize on insights that’ll drive your business forward. 

10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Returns Management Software