5 Optimal Solutions to E-Commerce Returns Management in 2022
For the ecommerce industry, returns are an unwelcomed but inevitable fact of life. Many brands are failing to properly factor in all of the costs involved - particularly if products cannot be resold. Putting in place a solid management system for returns is essential for businesses at a time when budgets are tight and, in this article, we’ll take you through five optimal solutions for E-Commerce Returns Management to help automate your logistics operations and reduce losses.
What is returns management?
Returns management is the process of reducing customer churn by processing returns in a timely manner and providing outstanding customer support. This process involves a number of factors including communication, problem solving, and transport. Often, businesses work hard on their customer service, only to be let down by inferior route planning software and unreliable transport services which mean that returns and re-deliveries take more time than a customer is willing to accept.
The customer is not the problem.
In the world of returns, it’s easy to blame the customer for being picky or difficult but, in reality, this is rarely the case. In 2022, businesses need to be putting themselves in customer’s shoes in order to figure out the pain points when it comes to returned products.
The reality is that E-Commerce is booming like never before - while buying online has always been popular, particularly with younger people, the pandemic raised the world of E-Commerce to the next level.
In 2020, as high street stores closed their doors, online shopping increased as more than two billion individuals bought products or services online taking the global E-Commerce market to $4.2 trillion. Now, as the world begins to return to some kind of normal, figures show that a huge number of consumers continue to embrace the convenience of purchasing online and, we can expect to see further increases in the next 12 months.
How to Make the Most Out of Returns and Exchanges?
1. Collect data and strengthen the digital infrastructure.
Good returns management begins with good data. E-commerce businesses have a big advantage here as collating and analyzing data from customer returns is fairly straightforward.
In 2022, e-commerce businesses should be taking advantage of their digital infrastructure in order to help them drill down to the reasons for returns and the costs behind these reasons. Investigate the reasons for the returns.
Get feedback regarding the customer’s satisfaction with the returns process, learn about the satisfaction with the delivery service and with the product, analyze the relationship between the key demographic factors such as gender and age to the collected data.
You should collect the following information in order to find out how the returns are allocated across the four types of returns:
Types of Returns:
A-returns: The returned products are in brand-new form and may be resold right away.
B-returns: Small variations to the items or packaging are necessary.
C-returns: Huge defects that make reprocessing for sale as new items resulting in placement of secondary market.
D-returns: Serious defects find it difficult to process and resell the products.
2. Know your audience.
Customer loyalty is being built more on excellent customer service and not so much through brand attraction. Moreover, you can establish your brand if you know your clients and can address and respond to their demands in a tailored manner. Automating data collection and analysis can assist with audience profiling and help you find out what makes your customer tick. When used AI and machine learning that analyses text data automatically to help you rapidly discover how people feel about your business), you can quickly identify who the customer is, what they want and, most importantly, what they didn’t get from your product.
3. Prevention is better than cure.
It goes without saying that preventing customers from returning products is significantly cheaper and more beneficial to a business than putting together an ‘after the fact’ returns strategy.
The prevention strategy starts with some next-level quality control to make sure that products leave the warehouse in great shape. The next - and most important - part of the strategy is to make sure that products are delivered on time.
In many cases, products are ordered from E-commerce sites for time-sensitive purposes - i.e. a birthday present or an outfit for a particular event. When these items are not delivered on time, they become defunct and are then returned.
Route optimization software is vital for logistics companies that are committed to making deliveries on time for customers. Route optimization software has helped many E-commerce companies to rise above the competition by providing efficient delivery service.
4. The road ahead is green.
As governments across the world work toward new environmental milestones, the transport industry is under the microscope more than ever before. As well as costing logistics companies big bucks every year, returns also account for a significant chunk when it comes to a company’s carbon footprint.
By implementing some clever tech such as AI-based route planning software and optimized delivery routes, logistics businesses can start to trim down their carbon footprint by reducing fuel consumption and used vehicles in preparation for further legislation as we all work toward environmental sustainability.
5. Make sure of automation.
Most Ecommerce companies enclose the return slip with the shipment as the return slip enclosed with the return is still the standard. Many companies shy away from embracing new methods for returns. They fear that new processes will result in worse customer service.
In this context, precisely this type of return shipment often results in non-transparent processes. The merchant often does not even know that a return is on the way and must even then physically unpack them upon their receipt and inspect them based upon the return slip.
Only then the customer can count on a refund – which is complicated, due to our digitalized world.
A route planning software can help you avoid this hassle as it will reduce the number of failed deliveries.
Check out Norma’s success story with Mylerz and how it helped them in achieving a 96% delivery success rate
For a logistic company, effective returns management involves keeping a number of balls in the air at any given time. Making sure that customers receive deliveries and re-deliveries on time, keeping staff happy and improving efficiency - all while trying to keep within ever-tightening budgets can be a pretty tall order for many businesses. Thankfully, technology such as route optimization software can give a business head start in retaining customers, saving money and, ultimately, saving our planet’s resources.
How Norma can help eCommerce businesses in the returns management process?
Norma is an AI-based route optimization and auto-dispatch software that automates your last-mile delivery by choosing the best route for your fleet. Norma helps you meet delivery deadlines, cuts down on service times, cut costs, save time, grow your business and assign the right number of vehicles.
For more information on how Norma can provide similar results to your logistics operations, feel free to request a one-to-one live demo, and one of our experts will be happy to call you back to discuss your requirements in detail.