6 key reasons to automate returns in eCommerce

Mariluz Sampalo

Mariluz Sampalo

Jan 6, 2022

Automating returns for your eCommerce means better customer experience and optimized reverse logistic system

Returns are one of the first psychological barriers that eCommerce customers face even before they make a purchase. Automating and optimising the entire return process of your online shop will lower the cart abandonment rate and encourage potential customers to buy those products that first caught their attention, among other reasons shared in this article.

But before you start automating the return process of your ebusiness, it’s a good idea to learn about the potential impact of a clear, fast and easy return process on customer satisfaction.

The convenience of having a parcel delivered to the home, extended return periods and simply the possibility to exchange or return an item are some of the factors most valued by online shoppers, as confirmed by multiple surveys.

Why should you automate eCommerce returns?

Automating eCommerce returns means that you will be able to manage them more efficiently and increase the level of satisfaction among your customers.

Automating eCommerce returns is a way to increase the level of satisfaction and reduce costs

Source: Pickawood (Unsplash)

Online shoppers may encounter a wide variety of doubts and other obstacles when making a purchase, especially when compared to those who decide to buy in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. Automating the return process and providing an easy return policy will help you:

  1. Minimize doubts when a new customer is considering whether to make a purchase. A policy that offers a return period longer than that required by law helps to boost the sales of your online shop. Contrary to popular belief, around 67% of users check the return policy of an eCommerce business before buying an item.
  2. Allow customers to see, touch and try the products from the comfort of their homes. This provides them with the best aspects of shopping in-person along with the many advantages of online shopping. When customers open a parcel, the products inside immediately appear in their homes, amplifying the endowment effect and making it harder to part with them. Additionally, the urge to return products decreases as time passes—a phenomenon confirmed in a study carried out by the University of Texas.
  3. Offer cheaper or free returns. This has a positive impact on your brand image, and, therefore, on the success of your business. The reality is that buyers aren’t willing to pay to return their products anymore. In the same way that they don’t need to pay anything to process a return in a traditional shop, they don’t want to pay for the same service online. That’s why offering free returns is a profitable solution for the majority of online retail businesses. However, if the nature of the products isn’t compatible with free returns, you can always offer a cheaper return system in which the customer only pays the shipping fees —or at least a part of them.
  4. Build loyalty and increase the repurchase rate. Purchases tend to occur thanks to an emotional impulse, and the arrival of the package can produce feelings even more powerful than those that arise when making the payment. If you think that it’s too late to give the customers what they wanted, don’t give up. Provide a flexible and appealing return policy so that your customers can find a product that better fits what they were looking for without having to go elsewhere. To know what they were looking for, it is fundamental to understand the reasons why a customer submitted a return in the first place, and to offer a wide range of products that might serve as a good alternative.
  5. Improve the conversion rate and boost sales. As we mentioned before, customers do check the return policy of an online shop before making a purchase. Having a return policy that is easy to understand, along with an automated return process, means that your customers will be more relaxed when buying and receiving the items. Customers will also feel encouraged to try out the products and, if they aren’t what they were expecting or if they didn’t choose the correct size or dimensions, to return or exchange them. Making the return process easy and free will change the way customers feel about making a return at your eCommerce business, switching it from an inconvenience to an advantage. This improves the conversion rate and boosts sales.
  6. Implement a more simple, profitable and sustainable logistic process. As is the case with the other processes included in the preparation and shipment of orders (such as picking and packing), automating the return process will make all tasks clearer for your team. They can be carried out faster and with fewer mistakes. Remember that reverse logistics are, nowadays, as important as the fulfilment or dispatch processes.
A free and easy return process for customers will diminish the number of exchanges or returns and boost sales

Source: Laura Chouette (Unsplash)

Returns will always be an important element of the selling process, online or offline. Regardless of whether returns are due to customer decisions or mistakes made in the processing of an order, having an automated eCommerce return system will translate into more loyal customers, new sales and a reverse logistics process that is easier and more efficient, ultimately allowing you to reduce costs.

Alongside the price and shipping conditions, the return process is one of the factors that matter the most to online shoppers. Don’t leave it up to fate —start automating the return process of your online shop today with Outvio.

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