With the holiday shopping season, retailers are facing the annual influx of post-holiday returns – an inevitable but often frustrating business operation for many brands. Without an optimized returns process, a poor user experience can compromise relationships with consumers, along with affecting bottom-line revenue. By altering your e-commerce platform to properly accommodate returns, you can gain access to a wealth of valuable data, implement features that directly solve consumer pain points, and enhance the level of personalization you’re able to offer shoppers.
The consumer shopping experience doesn’t end at checkout, which is why retailers need to be aware of how their returns strategy is impacting their customer’s experience. In fact, return processes are a significant barometer when it comes to choosing a brand to shop with.
55% of consumers check a brand/retailer’s return policy before making an online purchase. To add to that, 62% are unlikely to reengage or shop again with a retailer or brand with a poor/inconvenient returns processparcelLab and YouGov
By updating your platform to provide seamless returns, you can prevent a drop in retention rates due to a poor strategy.
Data Reveals Common Return Policy Pain Points
Post-holiday returns season is a valuable learning period for retailers who have a mass amount of data to examine and take advantage of. This new data offers retailers a great opportunity to analyze trends and consumer behavior to determine the best ways to update their site.
When returns are carried out by third-party logistic providers, it’s hard to keep track of the entire purchasing lifecycle of your customers. This means losing out on valuable data like average processing time, return volume and reasoning, etc., which can all be used to determine how to allocate resources and ultimately improve the customer experience. Therefore, it’s crucial for retailers to upgrade their platform to directly handle returns and analyze data in real time.
Implement The Right Tools To Boost Consumer Satisfaction
Based on current consumer trends, there are a few tools that can be used to combat some of the most common shopping pain points.
- Better communication – the foundation for nearly every strong relationship. By proactively communicating with customers through real-time order updates and chatbots for FAQs, you can quickly answer the questions they hate to seek out themselves. By implementing an integrated chat option, customers can ask simple questions about their order that would otherwise take much longer to resolve through a customer service representative (CSR).
Nearly a quarter (23%) of consumers admitted that being able to communicate with a company directly about their return/exchange is what they care most about in the returns process; 16% said getting real-time updates about their refund.parcelLab
- Supplementing in-store returns with online features – Another factor customers consider while returning an item is whether they’d like to do so in-store or online. Surprisingly, in-store returns for online orders are quite popular; and while an e-commerce platform usually exclusively handles the e part of commerce, they can have a helpful hand in this as well. A simple, yet effective, e-commerce feature that can be provided post-checkout is a map of all available drop-off locations or available stores.
20% of consumers said having a returns drop-off location or point is what they care most about when it comes to returns.parcelLab
- Allow the customer to choose their preferred return method. One way to provide this convenience while also being conscious of unnecessary waste for those who don’t need it is simply giving them a choice. Post-checkout, you can allow customers to choose whether to opt-in to receive a return label or opt-out. Another simple option could be providing shoppers with a QR code with each order so they can easily pull up the return label on their own devices.
The biggest concern shoppers expressed when it comes to returns is having a returns label sent with the original order, with 33% of consumers caring most about this.parcelLab
By listening to consumers and reacting to trends in behavior in data collected, retailers can determine the best solutions to implement into their e-commerce platform. These simple yet effective features all have a common theme which focuses on personalizing the shopping experience.