Return items are still a nuisance for online retailers. They cost time and money, and they take up valuable work time; plus returned items are usually not fit to be re-sold again. Sure this is annoying, but returned items offer opportunities too. A seamless return process helps keeps customers happy, plus it leads to higher conversion rates. As an online retailer you should ensure your return process is as customer-friendly, efficient and flexible as it can be. In addition you also make things easier for yourself in doing so, as you minimise the losses.
The risks of e-commerce returns
In e-commerce it’s all about trust, but consumers are more critical than ever before. They are getting more and more experienced with online shopping and expect increasingly higher levels of quality and service from online retailers. Nine out of ten online customers extensively research products prior to buying, ranging from prices to product details and shipping costs. This makes sense, as online buying involves risks. There’s a relatively high chance that those shoes turn out to be smaller than expected, or the colour is not as expected. On average 63% of customers decide to return items.
Win-win situation for you and your customer
Customers like to know what they can expect. And so do you, as 63% of items returned is a lot of work on an annual basis. So if a product is not up to scratch for whatever reason, then the return process should be as painless as possible. Not only for your customer, but also for you as an online retailer.
With a hassle-free return process you don’t just make things easier for yourself, you also encourage customers to buy more from you. It positively reinforces their buying behaviour. Even more so: they start to trust your online store, are more satisfied, become more loyal and therefore they are more inclined to return.
As an online retailer you would like to let customers visiting your online store know as soon as possible about your seamless, flexible and customer-friendly return process. In this item we’d like to explain how to do this the best way, from the first glance at your online store all the way to confirmation emails.
In addition, in case customers want to return an item, it’s important that this process is as hassle-free and as fast as possible. Sendcloud has launched an improved return portal that supports you in this. In addition you can further improve your level of service with the data you collect through the module.
Easy and crystal-clear communication regarding the return process
Good service starts as soon as a potential customer visits your online store’s homepage. Ensure that links to your return policy are immediately visible on this page. Not through a pop-up, extra clicks or in the fine print, but clearly stated and in easy-to-understand language. Also add links to your return policy in all follow-up forms of online communication. In doing so, customers will get answers to their questions in a quick and easy way, which saves a lot of time and increases your store’s conversion.
To do this right, ensure that:
- Your return policy is clearly visible everywhere from your homepage, to your confirmation and tracking mails. With Sendcloud you simply send a link to your return portal and return policy in all your Track & Trace e-mails. Be clear and transparent, so your customers don’t have to look for it. This way you treat your return policy as a crucial part of your unique value proposition.
- Your return policy is succinct and clear. People have to be able to see the terms and conditions at a glance. This includes the return period, the costs involved and when they can expect their refund. Don’t forget to adhere to the terms and conditions of the “herroepingsrecht”, the customer’s right to withdraw from the purchase.
Offering multiple hassle-free return options
Customers want to be able to decide for themselves how, when and from where they will return an item. Sendcloud offers you the option to create return labels yourself and supports multiple courier services, so you can let your customers choose how and when they return the item, as most of them live near a PostNL-, DPD-, or DHL-service point. Do you have brick-and-mortar stores? Then you can easily add those as return locations as well.
Diminish the number of return items thanks to data
When a customer returns an item you’ll obviously want to know the reason why. That’s why we made sure that in our new return module, customers can indicate alongside each item why they chose to return it. Was the item too small, was the quality subpar, or did something get damaged in transport? You can find all this feedback in your return overview. Here’s some examples of how you can utilise this data to diminish the number of future returns.
- Post notifications with products
Do you find the same type of shoes are often shipped as return items because they were smaller than expected? Then you could post a notification on your website about this. Just a simple ‘please note, these shoes are on the small side!’, and you have warned customers in advance. This increases the chance they will order the right size straight away, which means they won’t have to return the shoes they ordered.
- Improve your online offering
Data sometimes shows whether the quality you offer lives up to the quality you intend to offer. Sometimes you find out via customer feedback that a certain item doesn’t live up to their expectations. You can then take that information to your supplier, or you could choose to switch to a new alternative. This way you improve your overall offering, while you avoid customers returning items because of quality issues.
- Choose top-notch transport
Courier services process hundreds of thousands of packages on a daily basis. So it’s not a surprise that something goes wrong every now and then, and sometimes items are damaged in transit. If you see in your return dashboard this happens more often, then that could indicate something else is going on. Ask your courier services why packets are getting damaged. Perhaps your packaging may not be strong enough, perhaps it’s time to look for a different courier company.
An efficient and scalable return policy enables international growth
If you’re not already doing business internationally, an easy return policy will definitely help you to get your foot in the door of the worldwide retail market. Customers are everywhere and while their expectations differ per country, everyone wants to be able to easily return items regardless of where they live. Just as they’d expect from their local online retailers, they also want to be able to return items to international retailers hassle-free, quickly and cheaply. Again, you can win trust with an easy-to-understand return policy, which enables international growth.
Sendcloud’s return portal is available in multiple languages. Through personalised tracking mails, a customer in Madrid can return an item just as easily as a Dutch customer. Sendcloud also has reliable logistical partners throughout all of Europe. This way international customers can also choose which way they’ll return an item, and online retailers don’t have to source separate return solutions for each country.
Handling European returns via your Sendcloud portal
It is now even possible to accept return items and offer return labels throughout Europe. Your customers can easily return a package, with a Sendcloud return label, at a local post office. There they’ll be able to scan the label, which makes your international return policy even more hassle-free.
Processing returns without the hassle
For online retailers it makes sense to ensure return processes are seamless, customer-friendly and efficient as possible – and Sendcloud’s return module supports you every step of the way. This makes the shipping process a lot easier, not just for your customers but also for your business. In addition you’ll save hours of work on customer service, because both you and your customers are aware of each step of the return process. You’ll find the return module in your online Sendcloud-environment and it offers you the following advantages:
- a clear overview to have full control over your returns;
- a customer friendly return portal for more turnover;
- the possibility for your customers to create return labels themselves;
- automatic Track & Trace in the style of your brand;
- the opportunity to collect data and decrease incoming returns;
- an improved user interface and design (also on mobile devices)
With the updated return module, you can now also add links to the return portal and to your return policy in tracking mails 3 (ready for pick-up) and 4 (delivered). When a customer clicks this link, their details will be automatically filled in meaning customers no longer need their Track & Trace code to return an item.