How to Prevent Returns Pre-Sale

Companies sell products and ultimately succeed by providing a great customer experience. E-commerce retailers commonly assume the customer experience begins and ends when the customer decides to make a purchase or not. A sale is a sale, so everyone is happy, right? 

Not necessarily – no one is happy if the purchase comes back as a return. A return is the by-product of a poor customer experience. When a customer returns an item, it tells you something along the way went wrong.  

Preventing a return is far more cost-effective than physically handling it. Not only does your return management team not have to spend the time and energy to process a return, but it will also save your customer from a bad experience.    

Another assumption is that the retailer, not the manufacturer, owns the customer experience and is at fault for a return. That’s often not the case either.  

The causes of many returns emerge only after the customer has completed the purchase and starts to use the product.  

Yet, many manufacturers focus only on their reverse logistics process instead of preventing returns in the first place.  

Picture yourself with a new high-tech device that you can’t get to function correctly.  

If the product lacks well-written instructions and doesn’t function as you expect, there’s a problem.  

The problem intensifies when you can’t find helpful support on the phone or online to deal with the issue.  

At this point, you will most likely return the new device and purchase a competitor’s product.  

You can prevent many returns by ensuring the “point-of-use” customer experience is positive.  

Clear and easy-to-understand instructions for setting up the product and helpful support if problems arise once the customer returns home with a new purchase are two simple things manufacturers can do to improve the customer experience and prevent returns.  

What other ideas do you have that manufacturers can implement to prevent point-of-use returns? 

Image credit: miguelb

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