In ecommerce, returns are simply a fact of life – no matter what product category you’re dealing with.
When consumers are buying products that they cannot test or try out in advance, there’s always going to be a certain margin that ‘bounce back’ into the warehouse – at a rate as high as 56% in some industries.
While you can’t prevent returns completely, you can find better ways of managing them; while fostering customer loyalty and gain valuable insights at the same time.
In this blog, we’re going to look at why returns management is a powerful growth tool for your business – and how Whiplash’s latest partnership can help!
Merchants refer to returns as ‘the plague of ecommerce; with good reason; rather than just being the result of buying an ill-suiting item, returns have fast become a genuine online shopping strategy.
As many as 30% of consumers admit to deliberately over-ordering items with the intention of returning some of them later – a trend that has only increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the forced reliance on online shopping.
It’s safe to say that managing returns is a nuisance that most merchants would rather avoid. Yet it’s important to remember that returns aren’t necessarily bad for business. In fact, they represent a valuable opportunity for your business to enhance the customer experience and gain a competitive advantage.
Brand awareness and acquisition receive far more of a focus in the ecommerce customer journey than what happens after the customer has placed an order. This means that the post-purchase customer experience is often neglected – and that includes returns management.
“The post-purchase experience is often regarded as an afterthought in ecommerce, meaning it’s not unusual for consumers to feel let down by complex or unwieldy returns processes,” says Ryan Powell, Senior Vice President of Whiplash. “Naturally, this isn’t good for merchants’ retention rates.”
With returns having become one of the most important touchpoints in ecommerce, brands that focus only on closing sales will struggle to coordinate a seamless returns process – and this isn’t good for your bottom line!
With the right to easy returns now viewed as the ‘new normal’ by consumers, brand loyalty in ecommerce is increasingly dictated by whether merchants can respond effectively to this less-than-desirable outcome. According to Happy Returns, 87% of consumers are unlikely to shop with a retailer again after a painful returns experience, and shoppers who return the most also buy and keep the most.
But this doesn’t only affect whether consumers return a brand – returns management is also beginning to dictate whether they choose to shop with that brand at all; as many as 67% of consumers will check the returns page of a vendor before purchasing,
With returns management now central to customer acquisition as well as retention, there’s never been a bigger incentive to invest in this process.
While returns do mean lost sales, they also give you something very valuable; insight into your customers’ preferences and shopping habits.
Today, being successful as an ecommerce merchant requires an in-depth understanding of what consumers want. Return trends amongst your customers allow you to identify possible issues within your product catalog – and quickly move to correct them. For example, if you’re seeing a high rate of returns for a particular garment due to incorrect sizing, it may be worth speaking to the manufacturer.
Without a nimble return system, it’s very difficult to get the same level of insight into whether consumers are having a positive shopping experience. By taking advantage of this data, your operation will be much better positioned to drive sales.
With our new-found reliance on ecommerce due to the in-store retail restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s safe to say that returns management has never mattered more. That’s why Whiplash is partnering with Happy Returns to provide an intuitive and affordable approach to reverse logistics.
“Effective returns management has never been more important for merchant profitability,” said David Sobie co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns. “More online shopping means more returns, and greater demand for box free return drop off in order to satisfy shoppers and reduce costs for merchants.”
With both in-person and online return options, Happy Returns offers merchants a solution that caters to consumer expectations for a returns process that suits their needs. Paired with Whiplash’s seamless integration capabilities and scalable technology, it’s a partnership that caters to both emerging and established brands that are looking for a more streamlined returns experience for their customers.
“We’re really excited to partner with Happy Returns and to aid retailers in providing the best possible returns management experience for their brand.” Says Powell. “With the backing of their return portal software, drop off network and efficient reverse logistics, Happy Returns will help Whiplash make the returns process more seamless than ever.”
Happy Returns provides the operating system for ecommerce returns, including return portal software, a return drop off network and integrated reverse logistics. Shoppers are able to return online purchases box free for an immediate refund or exchange at over 2,500 Return Bars nationwide. All items bulk-ship inside eco-friendly, reusable boxes —leveraging low carrier rates and aggregated shipping to create economies of scale — to Happy Returns’ regional Return Hubs, where they are sorted, dispositioned, and processed.
Merchants using Happy Returns’ full offering average 20% cost savings, a 94 NPS, 50% program adoption, and up to 2X higher exchange rates.