E-commerce. How do I manage the return flow?
After the holidays, e-commerce is always confronted with a wave of returns. On average, 30 percent of online sales return compared to 9 percent of regular store purchases.
The convenience of e-commerce is achieved by the number of locations and ways in which goods can be returned. Not only through the mail but also at chain stores, bookshops, even at hardware stores there are already opportunities. A great form of service, but one with a dark side. The return process can also be faster than the regular sales process because the supplier has all the details of the shipment available. Whether or not thanks to the QR or barcode on the product.
Use the store
The customer is often asked to return the product to collection points and eventually to the distribution center. However, the handling costs are often high and the procedures for Returns often complex. Handling in local stores is often simpler and cheaper, and the product can be immediately added back to salable inventory if usable.
It is then wise to use a Distributed Order Management system across your entire organization. Then the store immediately has all the information about the product available and when stored in the local stock, the entire organizational stock is immediately updated.
Prevention is always better than cure. Nevertheless, companies make quite a few mistakes that lead to the return of goods;
- incorrect information on your website;
- bad images on your website;
- uncertainty regarding colors and sizes;
- wrong data and errors in data files;
- errors in your inventory;
- errors during order picking and packing;
- non-compliance with agreements;
- late delivery;
- uncertainty surrounding the delivery process.
These are all things that you can easily prevent as an organization by carefully examining your e-commerce processes according to the First Time Right principle. Do not make the mistake of extending your procedures. Keep it as simple as possible for the customer, but also for your employees.
Especially with clothing you can use the latest technology to give the customer a better idea and insight in advance of how and whether the clothing fits. Merging your clothing image with a photo of the customer is already possible nowadays. You can also put vlogs online in which the product is displayed, the operation and the actual use of the product so that the customer gets a better experience of the product.
Do not forget to realize the financial completion of the returns as smoothly and above all as quickly as possible. Also inform the customer, by mail, that you have processed his return and have refunded the amount. Cheap is very expensive with e-commerce, because a cumbersome and / or slow financial settlement very quickly leads to a very dissatisfied customer.