Elements of Best Returns Experience (How to reduce returns rates)

This article can come across as follow up to two articles I wrote before - the article about the checkout process optimization (Shopping Carts + Check-out ... ... ... ... ... There is often no big single problem, there are "just" a lot of little problems) and the one about the conversion rate (The ultimate conversion rate or there is a world behind the buy-button).

As the e-commerce budget volume gain additional market shares and increases, so do the expectations and the use of consumer both by desktop interfaces as well as mobile and on the go.

This development has to be supported and accompanied by ...
  • Seamless cross-touch-point use and interaction
  • High convenience and quality
  • Best possible security and control
  • Straightforward return processes
  • Great customer service and support
  • Demand for free shipping and returns
  • Linked social and multi-channel communication
  • Mandatory networking of all retail channels 

It is crucial to understand the key factors that drive consumers’ shopping habits, purchasing behaviors, brand loyalty and retailer recommendations. We can and have to do a lot before consumer enters our shop regarding SEO and SEM, we can support them in many way within our shops, we can guide them through an easy and safe checkout – but that’s NOT the finish line.

Shoppers want an improved post-purchase experience.

However your general online shopping environment is great, there is all too often more than many possibilities for improvement in the post purchase stage. That’s all too often the forgotten key for driving repeat customers and brand loyalty.

  • Shipping options
  • Delivery date 
  • Additional delivery address
  • Pick-up options at a recipient station of a parcel service
  • Possibility to pick up orders at a local retail store

Enhanced returns process offers opportunity for a unique service proposition

The number of customers that have returned a package is growing from year to year as well as the number of consumers that view a retailer’s returns policy before or after their purchase. While returns and exchanges represent the last stage of the customer’s purchase process, it is often their first concern when visiting a new store.
An easy returns process is as important as a good returns policy – for many reasons – one is that your customer will share his experience by the social networks and so this good or bad experience will affect a number of existing or potential customers.

Nowadays most of the consumers are expecting free returns shipping, a “no questions asked” return policy, and the presence of a return label with their original package or even the easy access to an easy-to-print label. An automatic refund is taken for granted in the present days.