Returns Management – how to make the most of the returns and exchanges process
The returns management process is a crucial part of any eCommerce business and is responsible for managing goods that customers want to return, and then collecting, organising, and restocking inventory that has been returned or exchanged.
Rather than see returns as a negative, assume they will happen and plan accordingly. You can view a returns process as a competitive advantage – and actually use it to drive sales.
What Is Returns Management?
Returns management is a process in retail and eCommerce that starts with customers wishing to return a product and ends with the business collecting, organising, and restocking that product. By properly managing returned products you can significantly cut losses by using undamaged returned items to restock warehouse inventory for resale.
Returns management, or reverse logistics, goes beyond the final delivery and is not used for every customer order. A returns management process is part customer support, part logistics, and part inventory management.
Make it simple
A returns management system encompasses many areas of business including customer support, as well as logistics, and inventory management.
Ecommerce businesses should have a clear and fair returns policy.
The good news is you don’t need an expensive returns management solution to start improving how you process returns. You just need a system that works for your business, and for your customers.
The returns system
A returns management system encompasses many areas of business including customer support, as well
Stage 1 – customer receives the product, is unhappy due to product damage/item was the wrong size, etc. So, they request to return the item and ask for a refund or exchange.
Stage 2 – your customer service team needs to either approve or disapprove the return, exchange, or refund, based on the company’s returns policy.
Stage 3 – your delivery team picks up the product from the delivery address, or if you use a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, there is usually a digitally prepaid shipping return label for the customer to use.
Stage 4 – the product is delivered back to the sorting facility or warehouse and inspected. The reason for the return needs to be recorded. Was the product damaged? Is this product good enough to restock?
Stage 5 – if the product is in a suitable condition, it is restocked and put back in inventory, and can now be sold to a future customer.
Why returns management is an important part of eCommerce businesses
Research shows that the ease of returning goods is a major influence for many consumers buying online. That means that if you don’t have a visible policy on your website, you might be missing out on sales!
When customers know that they can get their money back without fuss, they can spend with more confidence.
And with the huge rise in online shopping, a trend that was already on the up before COVID hit and then exploded, consumers will often buy many products, and then decide what to keep once they are received.
How to manage returns in your eCommerce business
Rather than see returns as a negative, assume they will happen and plan accordingly.
You can find out more about managing returns by downloading our FREE eBook “The Easy Guide to Returns Management”. Simply download for free and start improving your returns management process to drive more sales.