8 eCommerce Experts Share Returns Management Tips
March 14, 2023
by Rebecca Fox

In eCommerce, returns can make or break the customer experience, which is why effective returns management is important.

Here are some brilliant insights from 8 leading eCommerce experts who share their tips for managing returns smoothly and efficiently. From automating your returns to improving your return policy, these tips will help you manage returns effectively.

1. Put Someone in Charge of Returns

“Having someone who is in charge of the return process for your eCommerce business ensures that it goes smoothly. 

When you have someone dedicated to making the return process simple and done right, then you increase the chances of a happy customer. 

It also makes your life easier as a manager or business owner as you have trusted people on your team who can focus on this aspect of owning an eCommerce company. 

Doing this helps to streamline the return process which makes it easier for customers to trust how you do returns and therefore will continue to shop with you.”

Daniel Climans 

Senior Manager, Digital Marketing & Partnerships 

StickerYou

2. Communicate Effectively

“Communication is key in managing customer returns. Regular updates and proactive notifications can help reduce customer frustration and increase satisfaction. 

Respond promptly to customer inquiries acknowledge receipt of returned items, and keep customers informed about the status of their return. 

Consider offering a chatbot for quick and easy access to information, and provide clear and concise answers to frequently asked questions about returns on your website.”

John Frigo

eCommerce Manager

Best Price Nutrition

3. Have a Clear Return Policy

“Make sure you have a clear return policy in place. This will help customers know what they’re allowed to do and what they need to do to return your product. 

Make sure to include information about how long the product must be unused, the shipping costs associated with returning the product, and any other relevant details.”

Febra Alexander

Owner

Doggy Bag Treat

4. Actively Encourage Reviews

“When determining whether or not to purchase, online customers are naturally drawn to user reviews, so it’s always a good idea to include them on your product pages. 

You may undoubtedly meet negative evaluations along the way, but you should not regard this as a negative. Take the time to reply to any feedback, positive and negative, and you will be able to resolve any concerns. 

Actually, how you treat your clients after they have made a purchase is more significant than how you handled them before they made a purchase. 

Those efforts to assure customer satisfaction and resolve any concerns, if necessary, will foster brand loyalty and keep customers coming back for more.”

Mark Valderrama

Owner and CEO

Aquarium Store Depot

5. Collect Customer Return Reasons

“Use the data from your returns to reduce your future return rates. By asking your customers for the reason they wish to send back items, you can quickly identify widespread issues. 

These insights can help find problems with the products, such as quality or fit, and can also help you edit product listings for fewer returns in the future.

For example – if many items of a particular SKU are coming back as “too large” then you’ll know that you need to have the manufacturer double-check their measurements and maybe alter the sizing for future shipments (could be there was an issue, or type of material fits differently, etc). You’ll also want to QA the rest of the sizes in that batch to make sure they measure correctly.

By also offering an open-ended feedback comment box, you can better identify pain points and customers’ exact issues. 

This can help you better dial in product descriptions – what are customers saying they wish they knew before they purchased?

If it is something frequently reported, consider adding that note to the product description to help future buyers.”

John Cheng

CEO

Baotris

6. Set Well-Defined Steps

“Focus on establishing straightforward but effective processes. 

However, in order to reach this degree of returns management, stores must implement clear, efficient processes at the point of return, such as collecting all essential data, swiftly analyzing the condition of the returned item, and assigning it to its final destination.”

Raine Gui

Founder and Creative Director

Model Chic

7. Understand the Cost of Returns

“A solid return policy is crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction, and shoppers adore shops that provide free returns.

However, it’s critical to comprehend how much returns are costing you financially in terms of paying for reverse shipping and tracking, as well as how many man hours are required to manage returns, from answering phones to refilling shelves.

These calculations can provide a lot of information; for instance, if the data reveals that customer returns cost nearly as much as developing a new product or buying one in bulk, you might want to consider offering a refund and letting customers keep the original to immediately decrease your losses. 

If the figures make sense, it might be advisable to refrain from doing so since research indicates that 79% of buyers won’t make a purchase from an online business that charges return shipping costs. 

Additionally, providing free eCommerce returns may result in a significant enough boost in overall sales to eventually pay for itself.”

Steve Pogson

Founder & E-commerce Strategy Lead

First Pier

8. Make Returns Trackable

“Why should logistics be any different now that we can get whatever information we require or desire? We can track a product from the manufacturer to your warehouse and, if necessary, back to you thanks to advanced technology. 

Tracking your items’ entire path, including the reverse logistics process, has never been simpler. And as we all know, information is power.

As a result, you gain control over your returned merchandise and give your customers the ability to check on the progress of their returns. Return monitoring is crucial on your end for preventing returns fraud, which can be easily avoided and dealt with if it does occur. 

After a customer returns a product, you should keep track of the situation at all times. This, along with additional features like partial refunds, can assist you in preventing return fraud and abuse while still delivering top-notch customer service.”

Gene Fitzgerald

Head of Content Marketing

Best Osmosis Systems

Streamline Your Returns Management

Follow these eCommerce experts’ returns management tips to streamline your returns, improve customer satisfaction, and build a loyal customer base. 

By approaching returns with a positive attitude with a focus on automation and tracking, returns can be turned into an opportunity for growth.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your returns management to the next level, these tips provide practical advice and actionable steps to improve your returns process.

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