Many e-commerce merchants worry that a no-questions-asked returns policy will result in declining revenue. But by not making returns easy for your customers, you can end up facing an even bigger loss; a lack of repeat customers.
Why? Because the likes of Amazon have made hassle-free online returns the norm, thanks to their relaxed return policies. This means that every merchant – large or small – is now being held to the same standard as the e-commerce giants.
So, how can merchants coordinate a streamlined, customer-centric return experience that inspires repeat purchases?
By automating your return workflow, merchants can remove friction from the return process and resolve requests more quickly, meaning fewer service requests and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
We’re going to explore why return automation is a must-have for today’s e-commerce merchants – and how our integration with Happy Returns by PayPal can help you to enhance the post-purchase experience with your brand.
Returns are playing a bigger role than ever in the quality of the shopping journey. According to a survey by Oracle, 42% of consumers say that an exchange/return policy that’s tough to navigate is what defines a poor omnichannel shopping experience.
So, while a convoluted return policy may help to discourage returns, you’re unlikely to see those customers again.
Investing in a returns automation solution enables merchants to offer customers a streamlined return workflow that boosts customer satisfaction and gives them the confidence to shop with your brand in the future; 92% of consumers will choose to shop with a retailer again if their return process was easy!
A positive returns experience is a customer-centered one. When customers can complete a return without needing prior authorization, this removes friction from the return process and empowers customers to seek the solution that suits them.
According to Bizreport, 73% of consumers say they prefer to solve product or service problems on their own. A self-service return portal is an optimum solution to allow customers to resolve returns quickly, at a time and place that suits them.
Moreover, an automated portal makes it possible for your brand to suggest alternative products to exchange during the return process. When nearly two-thirds of consumers plan on exchanging or finding a replacement for an item they’re returning, this is a powerful strategy to retain revenue and boost loyalty by presenting solutions.
When a customer service representative has to approve every single return request, this slows down your workflow and adds a huge amount of friction to the customer experience. Manual activities such as generating return shipping labels, sending return-by-mail instructions, or suggesting replacement items undermine your ability to deliver a smooth return experience.
Return automation enables merchants to automatically set conditions for returned merchandise according to their chosen return policy, such as a shorter return window for sale items or good condition for returned garments. This frees up your team to handle more complex service requests and reduce long waiting times for return authorization.
Happy Returns provides both online and omnichannel retailers with an automated, fully-brandable online return and exchange workflow where customers can enjoy multiple ways to return purchases: In-person via Happy Returns’ nationwide network of over 5,000+ Return Bars including at Staples, FedEx and Ulta Beauty, directly through your storefronts, or via mail. Happy Returns makes returns hassle-free and convenient for your customers, while also helping merchants retain revenue by promoting intelligent exchanges to keep the sale.
Thanks to our newly-upgraded Happy Returns integration, Whiplash merchants can create the ultimate customer-centric returns process within their Whiplash facility. A comprehensive return automation solution paired with scalable e-commerce fulfillment, Whiplash + Happy Returns allows both emerging and established brands to free up more time to focus on supporting customers and enhancing brand loyalty.
“Today’s shoppers expect a seamless experience from purchase through to returns – they want things to be simple, easy, and convenient. The new Happy Returns and Whiplash integration makes it easier than ever to offer our best-in-class return experience for shoppers and merchants alike. It provides Whiplash full visibility and control on returns initiated within Happy Returns which allows them to more efficiently accept and handle returns at their facilities – all while generating critical returns data that merchants can gain valuable insights from to better run their business. We are incredibly excited to strengthen our operational offerings together and for the value we will deliver merchants collectively!” Andrew Pease, Senior Director, Growth, Happy Returns by PayPal
Merchants who are routing mailed returns to one of Happy Returns’ regional hubs benefit from aggregated shipping back to your chosen Whiplash facility. This keeps your return shipping costs as low as possible for stronger profit margins and can save up to 40% compared to traditional mailed returns.
Best of all, bulk returns include a QR code on the container which holds the data of the returned merchandise. Whiplash staff only have to scan the code to receive full details of each item for speedy restocking, including:
This data enables merchants to track their returns and identify whether there are any patterns in returned merchandise, such as specific SKUs and/or reasons for returning. Moreover, knowing the type of refund given for each order makes it easy to keep an eye on your exchange rate and make sure that you’re maximizing every opportunity to recover revenue.
By gaining a complete picture of return activity, Happy Returns helps your business to make smarter, data-driven decisions about your return policy and how to refine the shopping experience to lower your return rates.
Every time a return is created by a customer, Happy Returns will give it a unique identifier and sync with Whiplash to inform us of the details of the incoming return. This ensures that your facility is ready to handle the needs of each return, whether that be a refund or a one-click exchange that needs to be sent out quickly to satisfy customers.
Because merchants can see what items are being returned or exchanged in real-time, this means they can take steps to ensure a speedy resale of returned merchandise. For example, if jeans are experiencing a spike in returns, you could consider a storewide denim sale or make an effort to spotlight these products on your website to mitigate the effects of excess inventory.
Whiplash facilities will inspect all returned products to decide whether they can be classified for resale or require reconditioning first. With the Happy Returns integration, warehouse staff can select inside the interface if a returned item is being restocked, reconditioned, donated, or destroyed. Each option will trigger a tailored email communication to the merchant or customer, depending on your chosen return workflow.
Automating your communications during the return process saves your business considerable time and resources. Keeping your customers in the loop throughout the return experience helps to build confidence in your ability to handle return issues quickly, thus creating higher levels of brand trust.
Armed with our seamless Happy Returns integration, Whiplash merchants can further streamline their reverse logistics and achieve a customer-centric return experience that inspires brand loyalty and repeat purchases. To find out more, check out the Happy Returns integration page.