Return Shipping: Implement a Strategy to Handle Returns

Let’s face it, online shopping is one of the best marvels of modern technology and it is the reason why millions have employment and customers get the convenience of shopping no matter where they are. Giants like Flipkart, eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc. are already reigning supreme in the online shopping specter, while other small startups are doing great as well.

Though online shopping removes the barrier of having to go to the nearest stores to shop all the time, there is one major drawback – skepticism. Skepticism is something all online shopping ventures face, and if you’re a newbie in the online shopping world, get ready to face a wave of negative reviews and losses. But once you stand up and start doing well as an online shopping platform, all that goes away. What doesn’t go away is the skeptical minds of the consumers. That is not wrong in its entirety, but place yourself in their shoes – you’re buying something online but can you be 100% sure that the product you’ll get is the same that is displayed on the ad? I bet not. This is why online platforms face hundreds of returns in a month, and this is why return shipping is one of the crucial parts of an online shopping platform. Therefore, in this blog, I’ll be telling you about how you can implement a strategy to handle returns.

Return Shipping Labels

Product returns are a part of every business. Having a hassle-free effective return process not only creates an impact on customer relations, but also the ability to quickly and easily process returns internally. Return shipping labels ensure a fast delivery back to the seller, which in turn enables the seller to process the refunds back to the customer as soon as possible.

So, what is a return shipping label? It is a postage label that is pre-addressed and prepaid, which allows your customers to return purchased items back to the seller. The main benefits of a return shipping label are efficiency, convenience, and customer satisfaction. When utilizing these return shipping labels, customers don’t have to add any postage since the product seller has already included the shipping fees on the shipping label itself. This proliferates address mistakes, optimizes the return procedure, and provides a good customer experience.

Strategies You Can Implement to Manage Returns Efficiently

In the retail environment of today, more and more e-commerce companies are developing physical store networks, while the good ol’ brick-and-mortar retailers stick to focusing on e-commerce. These convergent trends have the sole aim of serving customers, who expect to be able to order at any time, anywhere, and get their desired products through their preferred delivery method.

Very often, such customer expectations go well above and beyond e-commerce fulfillment, and retailers are now focusing on returns as a strategic priority. Returns have become more and more important than ever in a customer’s journey of ordering a product online, and that calls for a customer-centric supply chain that can reliably give a consistent brand experience.

As retailers must fulfill orders via a number of channels, they must also deliver returns via the same omnichannel network — even if that means accepting returns at brick-and-mortar outlets, returns centers or any other third-party locations.

The question then comes to this: How can e-commerce companies enact an efficient return policy — one that drives customer loyalty and fosters a great customer experience, simultaneously managing the costs and complexities of omnichannel returns? While there is no easy answer, here are some strategies that can help you do exactly this: –

Fostering Customer Loyalty with the Help of Returns.

Returns are very often deemed as a necessary cost in business. Instead, they should be looked at as an opportunity to better the customer experience and stir up customer loyalty. Starting at the macro level, your return policy needs to be appealing to your customers. At a tactical level, you should make a value-added returns process that attains the accurate blend of customer satisfaction and engagement — two significant concepts that HAVE to align to your company’s strategic positioning.

Enabling Faster Credit Processing for Your Customers.

Along with fostering brand loyalty, it should also be imperative to quickly credit consumers after any kind of returns. Consumers want the return process to be as easy and fast as the first transaction. In fact, the ability to purchase online and return in-store is growing as a core preference for customers. Consumers receive a greater sense of control when you tangibly hand over the goods and ensure the returns, and can get the credit immediately.

Speeding Processes and Adding Value through Continuous Improvement.

The aspect of continuous improvement cannot be stressed enough and this strategy should fuel every single activity in your reverse logistics operations. The longer a returned good stays put on a shelf, in the back room of a store, or in a truck the less value you can recuperate from it. The cost implications become more and more severe when you take into account the potential for duplicated touchpoints, procedures, and transportation along with a return omnichannel. This is why you should find a third-party logistics provider that comes with a proven track record of operational excellence to improve reverse logistics operations.

Boosting the Collaborations between Supplying Chain Management and the In-Store Operations.

Very often, there are moments when organizational silos can obstruct informed decision-making about return items. You should break those silos down by honing communication and collaboration between in-store operations and supplying chain management.

To foster collaboration, education at the store level is important, especially regarding your returns strategy. Education can also be taken a step further by setting performance standards and formalizing training for the in-store employees. These efforts can be further increased through technological systems that have the ability to integrate across various stores, returns centers, and distribution centers to ensure full inventory visibility.

Optimizing Your Disposition Logic.

While speed is the key ingredient for returns processing, both strategy and accuracy behind your disposition system are also vital. If you just push products to recycle or salvage without any kind of consistent evaluation, it can be detrimental to operating your income. But, if you transport low-value products upstream for an additional refurbishment, only to liquidate later, you can needlessly drive costs as well