7 Tips For Effective Ecommerce Returns Management In 2023

Last Updated: February 2024

In any eCommerce business, it is unavoidable that you will have to handle your products being returned to you by your customers. Studies show that 55% of customers made online purchases knowing they were likely to return some of the items purchased.

The products ordered by your customers might not conform to the description listed on your online store, it could be the wrong size, or they could simply change their mind and no longer want the item they purchased. In all these cases, you cannot run an online shop without having eCommerce returns management in place.

In this article, we’ll look at the 7 tips for effective e-commerce returns management to help you handle returns to keep things easy, organized, and profitable for your business.

Table of contents:

Importance of Having an Effective E-commerce Returns Management

Satisfies Customers:

A returns management software can help you retain customers by making refunds or by making exchanged products available quickly. 80% of online customers believe a bad return experience can break their loyalty. When customers ask for returning an item, they are unpleasant and unsatisfied with your product. But with Smooth returns, you can ultimately impress the customer and maintain their loyalty to your brand. The sooner the customers get the reimbursement the happier they are.

Increases Public Perception: 

It is important to handle returns well because they are a reflection of your brand and customer service. There is no arguing that the advantages of returns management go to public perception at large.

Better Return on Investment: 

Inventory costs money. The more inventory you have in the system, the more of your investment will be locked. So, better returns management and encouraging exchanges will minimize the amount of capital being tied up in inventory and boost your return on investment to a great extent.

7 Tips For Effective Ecommerce Returns Management

  1. Easy and Flexible Return Policy
  2. Transparent and Detailed Refund policy
  3. Offer Free Return Shipping
  4. Automate Your Return Flow
  5. Turn Returns Into Exchanges
  6. Provide Visibility Into eCommerce Returns Through Tracking
  7. Refurbish the Returned Products

Let us dive deeper!

1. Easy and Flexible Return Policy

More than 80 percent of customers go through the returns policy before buying a product. You need to make sure that you have a return policy in place. It should be an easy, clear, and flexible return policy. Also, make sure to place your returns policy in a place that is easily accessible for your customers. 

You have to keep in mind some points while drafting a return policy for your online store.

  • Specify a time frame for returns. Major eCommerce businesses have a time frame of 30 days to return a product.
  • Clarify the expected condition of returns. Define the condition a product must be in before a return can be processed. Otherwise, customers will return products that are too poor to be resold.

2. Transparent and Detailed Refund policy

Formulate your refund policy. Stipulate which option you give to customers – refund or in-store credit. You need to make a choice between the two and add a refund policy template along with the return policy.

Mention the time frame within which the customers will get their refund. 30% of online customers think fast refunds will contribute to a pleasant returns experience. The sooner the better! We suggest offering customers a full refund on all returned products so long as it meets the requirements of your return policy.

3. Offer Free Return Shipping

Give customers what they want, i.e., free shipping and free return shipping. Innumerable studies have shown that,

  • 88% of customers opine free return shipping is an essential factor in their purchase decisions;
  • 81% are less likely to make repeat purchases at online stores that charge them for return shipping; and
  • 41% are more likely to make an online purchase if the online store offers free returns.

Offering free returns reduces the barrier for customers to make purchases. It makes the purchase risk-free for your customers and enables them to send the item back if it doesn’t meet their expectations or if they change their minds. If you provide free return shipping, the customers will be inclined to make impulse purchases and this will boost your revenue.

4. Automate Your Return Flow

Incorporating automation can enhance the efficiency of returns and refunds. It can make returns into opportunities to earn profit for your business and improve customers’ loyalty.

E-commerce returns management can be made easy by utilizing best-in-class software that automates your returns. You can offload the burden of returns using returns management tools like Helplama Helpdesk. 

The benefit of return automation can be shown through an example. Consider a scenario where a customer contacts to return a product. With no time, AI bots examine the customer’s intent, check if the item is qualified for a return, pass on the information to your customer service team and courier, and update the customer with a prepaid return label. 

All this occurs in a matter of minutes, without the need for human intervention and you get one less task to handle manually. Plus, Automated returns eliminate the likelihood of human errors.

5. Turn Returns Into Exchanges

When customers contact you to return products, you’ve lost a sale, and you have lost time, effort, and money in closing the initial sale. But, smart retailers aim to turn returns into exchanges. 

Do you know why exchanges are way better than refunds? You incur additional costs, such as the cost of return shipping, the cost of conducting quality checks, the cost of refurbishment, and the cost of restocking if your customer opts for a refund. When customers initiate a return for exchange, you don’t lose out on a sale.

Before processing a return you can ask why they are returning the product. Once you get the reason behind the return, suggest alternative items. Maybe they would want a different style, color, or size of the same product, or there might be a better product and persuade them to choose exchange over a refund.

6. Provide Visibility Into eCommerce Returns Through Tracking

Customers will want to know the status of their return and refund or exchange. Transparency should be followed in the returns management process. It’s important to work with providing visibility into this process by providing tracking information for their return shipment. You can also choose to automatically notify your customers once their return has been received and refunded.

By return tracking, eCommerce owners can also keep track of their active returns, and their status as per the marketplaces, and they can also match the data with their own record of the products physically received by them and the condition of the received product. Case studies show that eCommerce sellers who look into return tracking have up to 8% increased profit margins than the ones who don’t.

7. Refurbish the Returned Products

Refurbishing the returned goods is actually a second chance to profits. Returns management is a lot like recycling. If an item is returned in a good condition, then it can be packed back up and sold to another customer. And if the item is faulty and requires repairs, it can be rebuilt or refurbished at a lower cost. Lastly, if an item is unfit to be turned into a good shape or condition, then it can be broken down so its usable components can be recycled.

How Does Helplama Helpdesk Help You In Ecommerce Returns Management?

Helplama Helpdesk is an all-in-one helpdesk and automation software. This would be a better choice for an automated self-service returns center. It allows you to view on a single screen when an order was placed, returned, or when the return was requested. 

Helplama features an in-built portal to automate returns and exchanges. Integrated Returns Center allows your customers to automatically choose the items they wish to return or exchange, and based on your policies, it allows them to place an exchange order. This increases customer satisfaction and team productivity. 

With Helplama helpdesk, not only your team but your customers can also download return labels in one click. It can detect delays and issues with your customers’ orders automatically and proactively resolve them.

Apart from that, Helplama allows you to automate the collection of reviews and UGC, and you also get native social media integration, integration with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, customized live chat widgets, and AI-drafted emails.

Bottom Line

Customer returns handled correctly can be a great opportunity for your business to create a significant and simple returns experience with customers. Helplama Helpdesk is a complete e-commerce solution and it would be the best option for your eCommerce business as you get multiple advantages in one tool. Its returns management features would tremendously help you gain profit.

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