Reverse Logistics: How To Handle E-Commerce Returns

How returns affect online sales?

With the growth of e-commerce, retailers have faced a new obstacle: returns. There’s no surprise that e-commerce stores handle way more returns than brick and mortar stores. When you choose items in the physical store, there’s no problem with size, fit, and material. However, it gets way more complicated online. That’s why e-commerce returns account for 30% of general sales, which is three times more then the return rate in brick and mortar stores.

In fact, returns are stressful for both customers and retailers. Apart from handling returns, retailers have to take care of frustrated customers and arrange a smooth return experience. There are many strategies that can help reduce returns and improve your customers’ satisfaction.

There’s nothing good about high return rates, but according to stats, they will only keep growing. In 2020, Statista estimates the returns costing $550 billion, which is 72% more than in 2017. The more expensive items are, the higher the probability is of the return.

How to handle e-commerce returns?

Prevent them

Before thinking about how to handle returns, think about how to eliminate the possibility of customers choosing the wrong items. Make sure to provide detailed descriptions, size guides, and a good visualization of your products. Analyze your returns data and determine which items are forwarded back the most, and why. Apart from the product part, check if your order fulfillment and delivery are working properly. Any shipping errors will contribute to the general worth of returns.

Make the returns experience smooth

Returns are unfortunately unavoidable. That’s why your focus should be making the process of returns as smooth as possible for the customers. The easier it is, the more chances you’ll retain customers. In fact, 62% of customers would buy again from a retailer offering free returns, and 96% would shop again if the exchange process was “easy” or very “easy.” If you can, provide free returns and more time for arranging an exchange.

Customer support

Immediate response and following guidance are extremely important factors for customer experience when managing returns. Be ready to answer all potential customer questions and face negative feedback. Offering fast and useful help is a great way to balance the situation, and a smooth returns experience can make your customers order more and leave them satisfied.

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