Having an efficient returns management process is crucial to any e-commerce business. Returns are unavoidable, so it's only wise to be prepared and have a smooth return process so that your customers don't feel frustrated whenever they have to return anything.
Here's a returns processing guide that will help you process returns more efficiently to make it easier for you and your customers.
What is an efficient returns management process?
Returns management for e-commerce and retail starts with the customer expressing their intention to return a product. It ends with you collecting, organizing, and restocking that product into your inventory. In the case of damages, the product is collected and disposed of, a new one is sent in its place, or a refund is made, whatever matches your company's return policy.
Efficient return management would ensure that the non-damaged goods return to the inventory to be sold again. This way, you can significantly cut down the losses while still ensuring that your customers are satisfied with your service.
Here's how to carry out returns processing the right way:
1. Responding to customer return request
When the customer requests to return the product, assign a customer service executive to address the issue. Sometimes, the customer may not want the item returned just because they need to utilize all its features. You can resolve this by giving them the proper instructions.
But if they insist on going with the return request, check if the same can be approved under the returns policy. Usually, you can automate this process with returns management software. The software will decide if the customer is eligible for replacement or return and, sometimes, even reject the request.
Customers are also asked to upload proofs that validate their requests at this stage.
2. Collect the items back and check for any damages
Collect the item from the delivery address. The executives must ensure the item is in perfect condition and the complete set is included in the package.
The items then reach the warehouse facility, and a detailed quality check has to be carried out. An auditor would inspect the goods and determine the return reason. They then authorize whether the customer is eligible for a refund or replacement.
3. Restock the inventory
If no signs of damage are found on the package, it goes back into the inventory.
Then, authorize the refund/replacement for the customer.
Types of returns that an e-commerce business might encounter
The customer may initiate the return request due to a variety of reasons. The return management software you employ can accommodate all those cases relevant to your product. This way, the customer can choose the exact/close enough reason why they want a return/refund. It also makes it easier for your auditor to determine the reason for the refund and authorize the return process.
Below are some of the reasons why customers opt for returns:
â— When they order the wrong size
You can reduce the number of wrong-size orders by displaying the exact measurements in more than one scaling system. Also, provide references, e.g., for a clothing item, showcase a picture of a model wearing the same, and mention the size the model is wearing and their measurements.
â— When they order the wrong item
Include clear and concise product descriptions and more than 3 pictures, mainly from different angles, to make the product clear to the customer.
â— When the items are faulty or damaged goods
Conduct a preliminary check of the items before dispatching. Ensure the items are valuable.
â— When the delivery delays
Inform the customers beforehand if there are any shipping delays. This way, they will only purchase the item if they can accept the delivery.
â— When the customer no longer needs the product
It often happens when the product is delayed.