Returns have become trickier than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. As shopping in brick-and-mortar stores has dropped, returns have become even less common. In fact, many stores are temporarily halting returns to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
However, many online retailers still accept returned merchandise and consumers expect them to. And while consumers have largely decreased return volume, online retailers are going to face the brunt of returned merchandise.
Because of this, you’ll want to clearly communicate your return policies. The faster and more effectively you set the customer expectations, the quicker they will commit.
How to Process Returns with ShipStation
At ShipStation, we believe in the importance of removing hurdles so our users can optimize and grow their business. In order to give our users more tools for success, ShipStation offers a branded returns portal that helps you save time and streamlines your customers’ returns experience.
Returns are part of the reality of being an e-commerce merchant. Instead of trying to fight returns, we need to see them as an opportunity to learn, improve, and offer a second-to-none experience for your customer. Negative return experiences can quickly add up to thousands of dollars of lost future sales.
When you have a customer-friendly return policy, you are successfully building brand trust—a key ingredient for closing the sale and growing your business. You are more likely to retain the customer by providing a superior return experience.
You can include a prepaid, printed return label inside the package of your outgoing shipment, but many of those labels will be unused– wasting paper, ink, time, and money.
How Consumers Expect Retailers to Offer Returns
Make returns easy. Returns are a zero-sum game for both customers and merchants. However, mastering returns can increase customer satisfaction and contribute to long-term customer loyalty. Instead of requiring customers to call into a support line or wait around for you to send an email with next steps, allow customers to initiate returns in the same way that orders are placed.
Make the process easier by offering automated returns through return portals on your website or including pay-on-use return labels with the outgoing package. Cultivating a streamlined process like this elevates your brand above the competition and aligns you with titans like Amazon. Offering returns for free is certainly not something merchants welcome, but they are less time sensitive, so the shipping can be more affordable than with outgoing packages.
ShipStation is equipped to address all of these challenges and enables your business to provide the branded returns process of an ecommerce giant. Instead of creating return labels in advance or handling it yourself, save time and automate returns according to your returns policy. Let your customers do the work and search for their orders in your returns portal.
Your customers can select items they want to return, enter return reasons, and print the return label. Creating easy returns through your site brings you one step closer to getting more sales and conversions. Other returns management solutions out there can cost you hundreds of dollars a month, but the new branded returns portal is included in the ShipStation subscription for free.
For more information on consumer expectations check out our 2020-2021 Research Guide: Last Touch, Lasting Impact.