2 Ways Online Retailers Can Improve Their Returns Management in 2018

It's now 2018 - have you carefully audited your returns process in order to maximize customer experience and prep for a great sales year.


A retailer’s job isn’t finished when the customer clicks “submit order.” Even after the customer leaves your website, a seasoned brand– whether operating online or in a storefront – should be adequately prepared for the next potential customer touchpoint: returns.


So what's next?

Returns are one point in the customer journey where logistics and fulfillment partners can be of tremendous help to eCommerce brands. Logistics providers can help retailers execute returns with clearly delineated policies and streamlined management that make handling returned items and refunds stress-free.

We’ve come up with a couple of strategies below for logistics and fulfillment providers to help them revamp their returns management operations in 2018.

1. Make sure your instructions are clear and concise

This might be a no-brainer, but perhaps the easiest way to help facilitate the returns process is through a coherent set of instructions. Customers should know precisely how to prepare an item they’re returning and where to send it. Logistics partners can minimize confusion by offering original order information and package return slips that are easy to access.

Retailers should also make sure to avoid inundating shoppers with excess or irrelevant information. Ensure that documentation is visible in the package so that your return policy is communicated clearly and concisely. Your return policy should also be posted online on your company website and be reiterated to the shopper before an order goes through. Businesses who fail to adequately communicate their return policy to shoppers run the risk of losing sales and customer loyalty.

2. Have a clear process for processing damaged returns

Oftentimes, brands will hit a standstill when dealing with damaged returns. For businesses that lack the proper resources, learning how to process damaged goods can seem like a daunting task. A thorough returns policy strategy includes more than processing items in the warehouse. Accounting, customer service, and even marketing protocol all stem from your returns process.

Let’s say that a pair of shoes are returned with dirty soles, but in otherwise saleable condition. Without a solid returns process and well-established guidelines, warehouse staff may return to stock or discard. A logistics partner, however, could help identify additional avenues to move this product, perhaps at a discounted clearance price or through a flash sale. Damage isn’t black and white. Brands with a partner can develop a returns management system and processes that both streamline operations and maximize profit.

For more ways on how to maximize your returns process, check out "5 Ways To Make Holiday Returns Less Painful For You & Your Customers"

To learn more about how to move inventory efficiently and more strategies on growing your eCommerce brand responsibly, download our new eBook, Emerging In eCommerce: A 360° View From The Inside, here.