Package returns: how to make return customers even when things go wrong

Package Returns and your Ecommerce Businessreturned packages in your ecommerce shop

Package returns are a fact of life for e-commerce retailers, as they were for mail-order and catalogue sales before. Clothing is notorious for needing 2 or three tries to find the right size, and even if you only offer a choice of ‘black’ and ‘white’, people will be picky about the colour. Successful E-commerce retailers have embraced the idea that a returned package isn’t a failure or a loss, but a chance to generate real, meaningful customer goodwill and loyalty.

In a recent survey, nearly 2/3 of respondents reported having returned at least one item in 2013. More importantly, 85% of all customers said they would stop doing business with an e-commerce seller whose returns procedures were difficult, or even just inconvenient.

Customers have vanishingly short memories when it comes to things going right. They expect convenient, cheap, on time delivery. In fact, most of the time they get exactly that these days. But they will remember a bad experience for a long time indeed, and they will tell anyone who will listen. You can take advantage of this fact, though. Customers will remember the shipment that arrived dented, wrong, or not as they expected, but they will also remember a good return or exchange experience a lot longer than they will a faultless delivery. More than 90% of those polled said they would use an online seller again if they provided a good returns experience.

So, how do you assure a good customer experience for your online shop?

1) Make your policy simple, and easy to find. If your customers know what to expect and don’t feel like you’re trying to use ‘weasel words’ to preserve the option of making it difficult for them, they will be more happy with even a somewhat restrictive policy.

Explain time limits, fees, limitations or any other terms clearly, and on every product page if at all possible.

2) Adopt a simple RMA policy. Issuing a return merchandise authorisation number makes it easy for you to track and record returns. That keeps you inventory in better order, and can prevent a lot of fraudulent return scams before they start.

3) Send the return shipping label as soon as it is requested, via email if at all possible. Many kinds of shipping software also offer customers access to a webpage they can print their return label form directly.

All of these tips can help make your returns process simple, visible, and fast, and will make it a better experience for the majority of your customers who will, sooner or later, have to return something.

If you are an e-tailer/online shop looking at outsourcing your fulfilment services and logistics then contact us today on 0800 1707 555 and we can point you in the right direction of which 3PL's would be most suitable for your business.


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