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Product returns are a crucial component of the customer buying journey, and the significant increase in eCommerce sales has made it an even more complex and costly process. As more customers are turning to the internet to handle their holiday shopping, the ability to provide a seamless shopping experience throughout the purchase cycle is more important than ever. Returns are inevitable and treating them as another opportunity to provide your customers with a positive experience will help to turn one-time shoppers into loyal customers who repeatably purchase from you. Below are four ways to improve your customers experience with returns management.

  1. Promote Returns Convenience
    By promoting your return policy throughout your site your customers will know right away that should they need to return an item it will be easy and convenient for them. Make your return policy clear and easy to understand. Your customers should know how long they have to return an item, what steps they need to follow to get their return processed, and how long it will take for them to be refunded. Lastly, giving your customers the ability to process their return on their own without having to email or call anyone will add an additional layer of convenience.
  2. Offer Multiple Return Options
    Giving customers multiple return options like exchanges, store credit, or refunds provides another positive impact to customer experience. By giving them the choice, more customers feel better about accepting a store credit and it indicates an intent to purchase again in the future. If you’re worried about your bottom line you could try implementing a return fee for credit card refunds while offering free store credits. This would still give customers a choice without negatively impacting the customer experience.
  3. Leverage Returns Data
    Tracking customers reasons for returning products can provide tremendous insight to improve inventory decisions. If fit is named as the reason for returning a particular item, you’ll be able to adjust your purchasing decisions in the future and reduce loss and discounts caused by returned products.
  4. Use Returns as a Sales Opportunity
    While a customer is processing their return or exchange take advantage of the opportunity to suggest similar or complimentary items. By utilizing a recommendation engine you’ll be able to reach these customers automatically and at several touch-points. During the checkout process, on their confirmation email, in the returns portal, etc. being able to offer suggestions while they are already engaged with your site is a huge opportunity to upsell.

Today’s consumers want and expect a seamless shopping experience, and by providing a transparent and efficient returns process you’ll be way ahead of your competitors. Returns can be a real challenge for retailers but fortunately there are a number of strategies to utilize in order to rethink your returns processes to deliver the best customer experience.