10 Best Practices for Returns Management


Returns – such a dreaded term. Companies don’t like them, customers don’t want to have to deal with them, yet it is an inevitable part of doing business. With booming e-commerce sales, returns are getting even more frequent. By implementing best practices for returns management, you can get ahead of the curve and stay there by offering the best possible returns experience to your customers, running your internal operations more smoothly, and maybe even increasing profits.

Establish clear return policies

Return policies don’t have to be complex. The simpler it is for customers to return something, the more likely it is that they will shop with you again. Convoluted policies, or even just policies that are hard to find or understand, work against you. Making your return policies clear and concise will also help you sell. If customers know that returning an item is easy and straightforward, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Simplify the returns process

It should not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to return an item, so keep it simple! There is a reason why “hassle free returns” have made a comeback in recent years. Happy customers = loyal customers. If someone has a bad experience returning something, it’s bad press for your business. That will translate into fewer sales and less repeat customers, and it costs much less to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one.

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Why Offering Free Return Shipping Is a Good Idea


All the major e-tailers are doing it! Why, you may ask? It’s basic psychology. Free returns make an online transaction completely risk-free to the customer. They can buy something, determine if they like or do not like it, and send it back without a second thought if needed. It’s a competitive play, and it has even allowed slightly higher priced items to remain higher priced while maintaining sales and high customer satisfaction rates simply for the offer of free return shipping. A recent survey from Deloitte found that 55% of customers are influenced by easy returns and 72% find free shipping important when making a purchasing decision. Some companies have even found that making their “Free Returns” policy more visible to consumers has increased their profits by over 350%. This should not come as too much of a shock, all things considered. Take the customer perspective into consideration for a moment. To the average consumer, free return shipping means:

Peace of Mind

Return shipping costs can be a huge sales deterrent. In some cases, they can be 50% of the cost of an item or more – that’s a huge incentive to drive to the nearest store to get what you need instead of placing an online order. By offering free return shipping, you’re giving customers peace of mind which is what increases conversion rates and drives brand loyalty.

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