Once the holidays are over, most people feel a sense of relief that events such as gift shopping, meal planning, and the general hustle and bustle are surely coming to an end. However, e-retailers have a second rush to look forward to. The “other” holiday season that is quietly sneaking up–the season of returns, also known as the month of January. Reverse logistics is a key component of any retailer’s supply chain and when it comes to the holiday season, the returns process should be flawless to ensure the retention of customers after the busiest time of the year comes to an end.
By streamlining returns for customers, retailers have the opportunity to create an enjoyable experience, giving them loyal, repeat customers and also generating new business. It is crucial to have a plan in place to manage the returns process. Here are 3 tips to use for implementation:
- Plan Ahead: As mentioned above, it is important for customer retention that a smooth returns process is put in place. A recent poll stated that 85% of consumers would not make future purchases from a retailer with a difficult returns process. Building on that sentiment, 95% of consumers stated that they would definitely make future purchases from a retailer that provided a painless return experience. A return is not indicative of dislike for the company as a whole, some gifts just don’t work out! Additionally, since most of the January returns are gifts, there is a chance that the returns process could be a customer’s first experience with a retailer. Formulating a plan that everyone can effortlessly follow is sure to create everlasting, positive impressions.
- Streamline Processes on Both Sides: Returns should not only be simple for the customer but also for your fulfillment center. Ways to do this include providing self-adhesive return labels on the customer’s invoice as well as utilizing strong, sturdy boxes. This allows the customer to use the original shipping box and materials as the return method, reducing any aggravation involved in the returns process. Furthermore, the same box and materials keeps the product safe on its journey back, reducing your packaging costs and hopefully leaving a product fit for resale.
- Make Your Policy Simple and Visible: If customers are aware of the return policy before buying, it helps them understand the entire process ahead of time. Make your return policy visible on your website, front-and-center on the homepage or large and bold on the check out page. Clearly state the time frame in which returns are accepted, the form of credit they will receive (if not an exchange), as well as return instructions and costs that may be incurred. Avoid hidden return costs completely and ensure that all staff members are educated on the return policy in order to service customers efficiently.
The returns process can be a frustrating step in the supply chain for the retailer and the customer, but returns are practically unavoidable, especially during the holidays. Research has determined that returns will rise nearly 30% during the holidays this year. If you have plans to keep business booming, make sure you and your fulfillment center are well-equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to provide the most convenient and simplest returns process possible.
One of TAGG’s specialties includes providing reverse logistics services for our clients. If you have any questions on our processes, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 1-866-991-TAGG.