Returns are an inevitable part of doing business.
No matter how effective or efficient your ecommerce fulfillment services for your online business are, there will be times when customers will need to return items for a variety of reasons. Some customers may purchase items on impulse only to realize that they no longer want the item or that it no longer serves their requirements. Others may want a different size or color. And still others may have no reason at all for the return.
Ensuring Everyone Knows What’s Going On
It’s important for both you and your customer that the returns process is streamlined, efficient and 100% visible to all involved.
You should initially look at how customers interact with your returns management processes to ensure that everything on your end is as effective and efficient and can be. From the customer’s perspective, they want to know that you receive the goods and deal with any refund or payment reversal quickly. You may allow for handling or restocking fees, but these charges and details should be clearly detailed in the terms and conditions listed on your website.
Make Sure Your Customer Is In The Loop:
- Refunds. There are many factors that can affect how quickly a customer receives a refund can cause concerns if there are unnecessary delays in the reverse logistics in the processes for delivering and processing the returned items. Make sure your customer is fully aware of how refunds are processed, processing time, method of refund and what they should expect and when.
- Shipment Methods. You may have a preferred method for secure and safe transit of returned items. It is also important for customers to know whether they pay for return shipping or if it is returned free of charge. Think about whether your customers need a packing slip or other information to ensure efficient processing once you receive their unwanted items. Tell them how you’d like the item packaged and by what means of shipping. Give them access to a shipping label your system generates. Always keep them in the loop – for instance, they will want to be know ahead of time how long will it take for return items to reach you and to be processed.
- Communication. Do your ecommerce fulfillment and returns management systems talk to one another so as to avoid any miscommunications? You want to ensure that your systems (as well as your customers, of course) have live, real-time visibility into the process at each step of the way. Failure to properly handle the return transaction at any of those stages can damage customer relationships and add unnecessary costs to your business.
Your customers should be able to understand and make use of your reverse logistics processes so that it is easy and simple to return goods. In turn, happy customers, even those who make returns, are more likely to become repeat customers which is something that can’t be ignored in the competitive online market of today.