7 tips for successful ecommerce returns management

by | Jan 27, 2021 | Ecommerce | 0 comments

Good returns management is an essential aspect of running a successful ecommerce shop.  

At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned, compared to around 9% in brick-and-mortar stores.

And 92% of consumers surveyed said that they will buy again if the returns process is easy whereas 79% of consumers want free return shipping*.

Here are 7 tips to help you implement a successful ecommerce returns strategy for your business. 

1. Offer free returns

Ecommerce brands offering free returns will get a big thumbs up from their customers.

You can’t ignore the fact, returns are much higher for ecommerce stores vs brick-and-mortar shops as the goods haven’t been physically examined prior to purchase.

Having a clear and free returns policy plays a huge role in the overall customer experience and perception of your brand.

Repeat business from your customers is much more likely if they know your returns policy is hassle free, and free!

2. Make your returns policy easy-to-find and transparent

Give your customers easy access to your returns policy. Add a ‘returns’ link to your website’s footer so it can be accessed from any page they visit or promote your free returns policy from a site-wide promotional banner.

When they visit your returns policy page, it’s important the information presented is clear, easy to navigate, and covers all the various questions and request types a customer might have.

3. Use customer feedback to improve your service

For those customers having to make a return as a result of an error with their order or dissatisfaction with the product or service, it’s important to seize the opportunity to listen, learn and make improvements based on their feedback.

Listen to your unhappy customers, improve your service and try not to repeat the same mistake. In the words of Bill Gates, “your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

4. Ensure your goods arrive in good condition

Nobody wants to open their order to discover their goods have been damaged in transit. To avoid this, ensure care and consideration has been taken to the packing of your orders. Be mindful of your chosen courier, do your research first and read reviews online.

By ensuring your packaging is sound and safe, you’ll avoid returned damaged goods, protect your stock and add to the customer experience by always ensuring the goods arrive in the same condition you sent them.

5. Capture every detail with your product images

One of the biggest reasons customers return their orders is that the item they received doesn’t reflect what they ordered online.

Combat this reason for return by ensuring you use high quality images on your website that show the item in all its glory. Zoom features and images of all angles will help.

Don’t sit back and rely on manufacturer photos if these are provided to you. It’s always worthwhile hiring your own photographer to reshoot stock.

Go one step further and share videos of your items. This could be a quick product demo or a model wearing your item if you work in retail.

The more effort you put in here, the more likely the customer is going to receive and keep the item they anticipated.

6. Audit your returned stock regularly

It’s important you keep a close eye on exactly what is being returned to you and how often.

You might identify issues with your stock, packaging, courier etc by reviewing your returns frequently.

This process will highlight to you any issues that need addressing to avoid the same pattern of returned goods.

7. Actively encourage reviews

One way to gather essential feedback from your customers is to actively encourage reviews after they have purchased.

There are various ways to do this but review automation is probably the easiest option. If you partner with the likes of TrustPilot or Reevoo, you can set up automatic emails to go out to your customer base a set number of days after they purchased from you.

Online shoppers are naturally drawn to customer reviews when deciding whether to order or not, so it’s always good to present these on your product pages.

Undoubtedly you will encounter some bad reviews along the way but don’t see this as a negative. Take the time to respond to all (good and bad) and you’ll be able to rectify any issues.

How you treat your customers after they have purchased is actually more important than how you treated them before. It’s those efforts to ensure your customers are happy and resolving any issues if they’re not that’ll nurture brand loyalty and have them coming back for more.

Returns management the easy way

With Jigsaw Fulfilment, processing a return couldn’t be more straightforward. You can choose to manage this process yourself through our online dashboard or we can do it for you at Jigsaw Fulfilment HQ.