For you, as an eCommerce business owner, it is very important to win a huge number of customers, keep multiplying sales, and see the numbers grow. On the flip side, you will also be anticipating some inevitable losses due to product returns. And that is one of your major pain points which affects your ROI directly.

We are delighted to bring you the best eCommerce returns practices to successfully address this issue. Check the affixed stats and understand the reasons to find out why you should provide the best returns experience to customers. Follow this article attentively and grow your business healthily to reap maximum ROI.

Table of contents:

Losses To Your Brand Due To Returns

First and foremost, let us talk about what are the losses that you will have to face due to unavoidable returns.

  • The cost of damaged/faulty goods – since you cannot use the damaged product you will have to discard it. Also, faulty products require an extra investment of money and labor to do the required repairs/refurbishments.

Invespcro survey reports the percentage of eCommerce product returns that are either damaged or broken is 80%.

  • Cost of labor – including the manpower involved in repairing/refurbishing, warehousing, shipping, restocking, etc.
  • Product reselling cost – involves repairing, refurbishing, restocking, and most importantly re-marketing and shipping expenses.

Let us now get into the detailed discussion of how to turn the tables by using effective eCommerce returns best practices and what they are.

How To Turn Potential Returns Into Profitable Revenue?

Returns are an important touchpoint between your brand and your customer. And so, optimizing this touchpoint will shoot up your profits that diminish even your losses due to returns. Also, read here to learn how to streamline returns management and reduce loss.

Customer Retention Plays A Key Role

Understanding the importance of customer retention will level the playing field up to 50%. Retaining the newly acquired customer proves useful and cost-effective as compared to acquiring another new customer.

5 times the amount is spent on acquiring a new customer as compared to the expenses utilized to retain the existing customer.

Between 2014 and 2019, the customer acquisition cost (CAC) increased up to a mounting 60%.”

Plus, your existing happy customer will stay loyal to your brand. He will do the necessary word-of-mouth marketing for your brand and bring in referrals too. As a result, you will see numerical growth in your profits.

Precisely, customer retention increases your customer lifetime value with your brand. An increased lifetime means repeated business to you.

“Unfortunately, companies that focus on customer retention measures account for 18% only, whereas 44% of them are still stuck with onboarding new customers.”

customer retention statistics

Source: invespcro.com

And that’s why grab the opportunity and stand out from the rest of the crowd. Play your cards wisely and focus on retaining your existing customers. So, how to do that? Continue to read ahead to know.

Post-purchase experience

May sound humble or insignificant since you have already made a sale. We are sure you already know that a customer journey with your eCommerce brand doesn’t stop at the checkout. That takes us to the rest of the post-purchase journey.

  • Returns – in case your customer receives a wrong/defective product, his first thought is to return it.
  • Exchanges – some customers may think otherwise and prefer exchange instead of returns.
  • After-sale support – your customer may get some doubts or need any technical assistance on receiving the product.

Of all the above three, returns would eventually cost your company more than the exchange or support. Not just that, if in case your customer faces a bitter return experience:

– He will quit your brand.

– Secondly, he will spread his bad experiences to many others.

13% of disappointed customers talk to at least 15 more people abut their unhappy experience with a brand.

Watch this statistical image below to learn from those who have experienced this fact.

customer retention statistics

Source: invespcro.com

Recommend: Read here to learn how frictionless returns is the key to positive customer experience, post-purchase.

What Are The Best Ecommerce Returns Practices?

#1 Display Returns Policy Prominently

Do you know? 66% of the people who shop online read the returns policy first and then proceed to buy the product.

Display a thoroughly designed returns policy on every product page prominently. Psychologically, when your customer learns that he can return the product in case of any problems, he will place the order confidently.

Nevertheless, ensure to mention certain return conditions clearly in the returns policy section. Refer to this example of eCommerce giant Amazon’s free return policy.

Amazon returns policy

Source: amazon.com

Here, Amazon offers free returns for all US customers on millions of products. From the image, you can understand that Amazon accepts returns for the listed reasons – no longer needed, item bought by mistake, etc. The option of how to ship back is also given to the customer.

Read: Return policy examples to mix and match to formulate a return policy that best suits your business model.

#2 Offer Free Returns Whenever Wherever Possible

74% of eCommerce customers revealed in a survey that they will not order online from a retailer if they have to pay for the returns.

We understand that “Free returns” means you as an eCommerce business bear the brunt of the cost of returns. Yet, the mere mention of it on the product page will greatly influence your customer’s purchase decision. Anyhow be assured, if he is happy with the received product, he is not going to return the product.

Also read: What Does Free Returns Mean To Your Ecommerce Business?

#3 Anti-refund Strategy

Turn your returns process into a profit store! How? You can use innovative anti-refund strategies like

1) Offering discounts/vouchers at the time of returns initiation

When your customer wants to return a product for a refund, give him some encouraging deals or discounts. This will naturally push him to check out other options and place a new order, simultaneously. Thus, you retained your customer and converted a return order into a profitable sale.

2) Understand and offer alternate product options

In simple words, ‘exchange’. Most of the time, customers return products due to incorrect size or color issues. You need to collect this reason from the customer when he asks for returns.

Immediately, show him the alternate options available in the store. Turn your unhappy customer into a happy customer by instantly listening to him. To do this, you need automated returns management software like Helplama Helpdesk.

This tool works on an automated algorithm that collects the return reasons from your customer. Displays prompt solutions instantaneously. Lets your customer complete the exchange purchase in just a few clicks.

3)Refund in the form of store credits

Nosto’s eCommerce returns statistics show that 25% of the customers expect to be given the choice of a refund or credit.”

Yet another effective way to keep your customer hooked to your brand. Another chance to make him come back to your store at any time later even if not immediately. And if this method combined with any of the previous two strategies will boost your chances of customer retention.

At this juncture, you need to understand that it is important to incorporate the above said three anti-refund strategies in your eCommerce business. To do that, you require software like Helplama Helpdesk which has all these efficiencies built in.

Anti-refund strategy Helplama Helpdesk

#4 Proactive Returns Support

Providing proactive customer support acts like a strong backbone to retain your existing customers. It strengthens their loyalty to your brand. Don’t wait until they contact you. Instead, go out of the way and assist them voluntarily. This shows how much you value them and increases your customer lifetime value with your brand.

Helplama Helpdesk helps you exactly do that. The team at Helplama designed this software with an understanding of this key aspect of eCommerce customer support. Its automated returns tools monitor all your orders & returns 24/7. Instantly, notifies you in case of any shipping delay. It is pertinent for you to inform your customer prior about the status of the order.

7% of the eCommerce customers do not accept the product which arrives late and return it outrightly.

“Why lose this 7% of the customers, when another study proved that a 5% increase in retention rate leads to a 95% of profit increase?”

retention rate graphic

#5 Automation In Returns

i) Live Chat – this tool comes in very handy for instant help to your eCommerce customers. Let your customers connect over a live chat widget to raise returns and check updates. This also helps majorly in deflecting the huge volume of calls to your customer support center.

Additionally, since the live chat widget is active 24/7, your customer can get his answers at any time. All you need to do is create automated workflows linking the widget with your returns center.

ii) Self-help portal – Hosting a self-returns portal not only adds aesthetic brand identity but also solidifies the trust in your brand. Your customer can initiate returns/exchanges all by himself and he will be sure that the product will return to the right place.

Even if you outsource the reverse logistics to a third-party logistics (3PL) company, your branded self-help portal authenticates the returns your customer raises.

Allow them to print/download a shipping label easily from your site. Try to avoid running around time for your customer and make the returns easy for him.

What if you get both possibilities with a single software to automate your returns process? It will be great! Isn’t it? Check out Helplama’s Returns Management Software which brings you efficient automated returns solutions with just a few clicks. Create automated workflows easily using drag-and-drop tools.

#6 Returns Analytics

No progress is promptly made without reports on previous performances. Yes, you should keep an eye on the returns statistics of your company every now and then. If possible collect all the returns reasons and numbers. Study them closely and work on the necessary changes.

For, this report gives you an idea of what preventive measures you need to take to reduce your store returns. Like, as offering the right deals and discounts, providing alternate product options, redesigning your products, etc. And optimize your returns workflows accordingly.

The Conclusion

Finally, you have learned how to turn returns into profits by practicing the above-mentioned best returns methods.

“Invespcro.com’s study says that 92% of customers will come to buy from you again if the returns are easy.”

That is why we recommend you to please check Helplama Helpdesk software to provide a seamless returns experience to your customers. It comes with an integral automated returns and exchanges portal for your Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce stores. Plus, you already read about its few other critical returns features above in this article.

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