The importance of efficiently managing changes and returns in an e-commerce
Taking into account that it is estimated that the percentage of changes and returns in online commerce is 30% compared to 8.8% of physical trade, efficient management of this point is a strategic task. In this post, we explain what is the right way, regardless of whether your store is Shopify, Magento or Prestashop.
Now more than ever, brands must create a simple and transparent process for their customers to manage returns and changes. At this point, your policy of changes and returns becomes critical, must be clearly accessible, visible and written clearly to avoid doubts and confusion. When you write your change and return policy, imagine all the possible scenarios that may arise and try to give a clear solution.
9 keys for your return policy:
- Keep a simple and clear language. Get away from the legal jargon.
- It includes any type of associated guarantee that may have the products you are marketing.
- Take into account the legal conditions of the country from which you sell.
- Make sure you give your customers enough time so they can return the items.
- Report clearly any additional costs that may exist for your client and the conditions that must be met. For example, if your return policy implies that the customer should be responsible for the cost of sending the returned product, you must indicate that in case of receiving a damaged product, the return costs will be borne by the brand.
- It clearly indicates the number of days that the client has for the return, as well as the time it will take to return the money.
- Report the return process and do not forget the packaging and labels issue.
- Remember that there are products that cannot be returned or exchanged, as is the case of underwear or consumables.
- Look at the good one’s 🙂 Return pages of Zalando or ASOS
Who should take care of the shipping costs in the returns?
The latest studies reveal that 6 out of 10 brands are negatively affected due to an increasing number of returns. Many small physical stores refrain from selling products online due to delivery and return costs, while many online stores increase prices to absorb part of the cost of return management.
Cases of customers who place orders of various sizes, different colors or simply customers who have received a gift and want to change it are some of the much possible casuistries. In an online environment, the return process is somewhat more complex than receiving a boxed item and putting it back on the hook to put it back on sale. In the e-commerce there are personnel costs that must be in charge of this management, managing the return tasks, checking that the products are correct, that the return of the money to the client is processed, etc.
Almost 1 in 2 customers say they would not buy at a store that does not offer free return costs. The great ones of the e-commerce like Amazon, ASOS, Zalando, etc. they have been in charge of democratizing these policies; difficult to assume sometimes by small brands.
The importance of an efficient ERP
ERPs are commonly used to connect the front of your store with accounting and storage systems. Depending on the ERP that you use, you can expand it to grow in the direction of the automation of the day-to-day processes of your online store.
However, it is very common to grow in a disorderly manner with the ERPs, investing time and money in unnecessary customizations, usually motivated by an incorrect definition of the management and operation processes of your online store.
In the beginning, small brands, intelligently, usually allocate a person to “perform the functions of ERP”, and as they grow they can opt for simple solutions of ERPs or other more advanced aimed at the automation of processes such as those we discussed in this other post. In either case, you must be prepared on the path you will follow to automate processes if you want to become a fast-growing brand.
Otherwise, you can find the worst possible scenario … As it may be that after a sales record for a certain campaign, the usual returns begin and they begin to pile up at the tables of your employees. Your customers will only think about your return, and delays in a return or exchange, or lack of communication will not be well received. Your customer service will begin to become saturated trying to locate the returns, to make the appropriate transfers, especially with complex orders, such as orders with more than one product, purchased using a discount code and in which a full refund of the order, but a partial refund is made.
What started as a campaign success can end up being a total disaster simply because of poor return management.
Luckily for many of you who will be reading this post, your store will be in Shopify, this makes things much easier since with any license of Shopify you can manage very easily the entire return process and with Shopify Plus and its flows, You can automate part of the process.
In any case, a good ERP solution can help you automate part of this process. From the management of inventory levels to automatic returns; each solution has advantages and disadvantages that you must analyze for yourself. The ERP itself does not solve anything, but you must make a good implementation and adjustments.
It is best to start with the idea that we are going to grow, in which case Excel and documents of all kinds will take a long time, so consider a small investment in receiving professional help to define your business processes and base to them to look for the most efficient technological solution, it can be a good advice, fundamentally taking into account the money and time that you can get to lose by an inefficient management.
Shopify Plus is possible to integrate with any ERP solution through the “RESTful API” so if you are currently in another e-commerce solution such as Magento or Prestashop and have it connected to an ERP, you can connect it again with your Shopify Plus store.
Alternatives and complements to the ERPs
There are other solutions for the management of changes and returns that you can connect with your Shopify, some of them are even good complements or allies to the ERPS. Return Magic and Returns Manager of Bold, both can help you in the automation processes without the need to invest in an ERP.
With these solutions you can create a return portal for your customers, print the labels for the return, etc. This type of tools will make you gain a lot of time and they will give you a lot of information about the reasons why your clients make refunds so that as far as possible you can work on reducing them.
If you identify products that are usually returned and with a common motive, you can identify possible failures. It is usual that by making small adjustments in the product sheets, in the size tables and other elements, substantial improvements are achieved in the returns ratios.
Do not forget either that some solutions with which you can automate the logistics in a Shopify shop such as Cangopal with which you can use any logistics provider are a good way and you can solve part of this mess, mainly in the beginning.
With an average return of 30% in the e-commerce, brands must invest in efficient returns management processes. Regardless of whether you opt for a complete ERP solution or for a simpler solution, investing in your back office tools will allow you to have more time for what really interests you; grow your brand