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Enabling convenience and driving customer satisfaction through seamless, omnichannel returns

While recent years have proven that convenience reigns supreme as trends shift more favorably toward e-commerce shopping, the satisfaction of stepping foot into a physical store—seeing, feeling, smelling, and trying items before buying—is still both desirable and impactful for shoppers and merchants alike. 

But when a purchase doesn’t work out, offering this same level of optionality and accessibility during the returns process is not only key to building loyalty, but is expected by the modern multi-channel shopper. 

Buy Online, Return In-Store (BORIS) complements e-commerce merchants’ D2C growth strategy and creates a premium experience for customers who want to physically come into the store, interact with product experts, and find alternative items. Not only does BORIS allow merchants to retain more revenue, but Shopify data shows that 62% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase online if they’re able to make returns at a physical store.    

Benefits of offering In-Store Returns:

  • Saves shipping and processing fees, reducing costs for merchants and their customers by eliminating return labels and warehouse handling.
  • Drives foot traffic, enabling retail teams to guide the customer to find a preferred size or product, in turn, retaining revenue.

In-store returns aren’t only great for customers, but less packaging and labels yield a positive impact on the planet as well. Returnly merchants like Frank & Oak prioritize sustainability and alleviate waste by offering in-store returns. Not only are customers able to contribute to eco-friendly initiatives by dropping returns off at a brick-and-mortar location, but they’re also provided personalized support from store associates who help customers find something new to exchange that returned item for, ultimately retaining and often increasing revenue.

But it’s just as important in the reverse.  Let’s say a customer buys an item in-store and realizes it’s not right for them after bringing it home. Merchants can further enhance their omnichannel strategy with Buy In-Store, Return Online. With this feature, merchants can bridge the gap between online and in-store commerce, allowing customers to return items online through an online Return Center without having to return in-store where the purchase was originally made. 

Benefits of Buy In-Store, Return Online:

  • Allows customers to start an online return with just a store receipt.
  • More convenience for shoppers, even out-of-towners.
  • Enables merchants to gather return reasons in their return portal, helping inform future merchandising, product, and business decisions.

Rounding out return options is Buy Online, Return Online, a seamless process to manage returns without customers ever stepping foot in-store. When implementing this option, merchants must make their return policies readily accessible on their website, so customers understand how much time they have to decide on returning an item and who is responsible for covering return shipping costs. 

Benefits of Buy Online, Return Online:

  • Allows customers to start a return or exchange at any time.
  • Custom, automated returns workflow enables merchants to support more customers in less time.
  • Automated labels, brand customizations, and automatic refunds alleviate manual processes for merchants so they can focus on other tasks.
  • Exchanges allow customers to exchange for a different size, style or product with the new item shipping before they’ve sent back their return, eliminating pain points from stockouts and getting time-sensitive items like swimwear on hand as soon as possible. 
  • Prompt customers to shop for something new while waiting for their return to be processed, retaining more revenue for merchants and providing a top-notch customer experience, completely risk-free.

Shopify data shows 92% of consumers said they will buy again if the returns process is easy. This is why it’s so important for retailers to cover every possible return path that a customer could desire in a hybrid retail environment, regardless of where items are originally purchased. No matter whether your business has its origins in brick and mortar or e-commerce, Returnly assists merchants in bridging the gap between in-store and online. 

Enjoyed this extract? Check out the rest of our eBook on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped consumer expectations for fluid retail journeys:

The brick and mortar arms race: omnichannel expectations that are shaping the storefront.
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