Online shopping has become a firm consumer favourite for one undeniable reason – it makes life easier. There’s simply no beating the ability to order whatever we want whenever we want, especially in an age when many of us only get the chance to shop during our morning commutes!
But, to say that online retail makes everything easier would be to simplify the issue. Behind the scenes, of course, maintaining an online presence could well leave you with much more work on your hands. Even from a front-facing perspective, one thing prevents online shopping from being easier in every way, and that’s long-winded returns procedures.
No matter how smooth the shopping process itself, online returns have been a pain point since eCommerce began. This is the reason why so many companies offer online consumers the opportunity to return items in-store. But, if you’re running an online-only enterprise, smooth returns can start to seem like mission impossible.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. Even your online operation can live to die another day where returns are concerned. Simply keep reading to find out how.
Make it easy for customers to tell you what’s wrong
Items that aren’t the right size, fit, or whatever else are inevitable, and the chances of consumers holding such issues against you are slim. At least, they are unless you make it next to impossible for them to tell you about it. After all, they can’t simply walk up to shop staff and explain! To avoid issues here, either include a box for return comments on invoices, or add links to phone numbers or chat services that let consumers leave comments, along with their purchase numbers, for satisfactory (and simple) returns moving forward.
Include pre-paid envelopes
Speaking of consumer ease, paying for postage before refunds are possible is a significant pet peeve for many, and no way to build the customer loyalty you’re relying on. Instead, you should always include pre-paid return envelopes with each order, or at least send these out on customer request. Then, sending your items back won’t cost them anything extra, and could see them staying onside no matter what the issue.
Always add barcodes
If you have no interest in physical stores, there’s a temptation to do away with barcodes on each item and instead keep these for warehouse purposes only. Again, though, this can complicate returns, lead to item confusions, and generally make things difficult for your customers. Make sure it doesn’t happen by investing in barcode labels regardless and adding these to every single item for simplified, unique product IDs moving forward. That way, rather than trawling through countless warehouse paperwork whenever something comes back to you, you can scan it right into the system for faster refunds every time.
There’s no denying that online returns are always going to be that bit trickier to manage. But, by taking precautions like these, you should at least find that such issues don’t altogether ruin your reputation or consumer relations.