January 11, 2023
2023 is here, meaning that the Q4 rush is over. However, while e-commerce sellers will no longer be bombarded with holiday orders, a new and often overlooked rush has begun—holiday returns.
Returns are a crucial aspect of e-commerce for sellers and customers alike. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to return over $816 billion of retail merchandise purchased in 2022. Moreover, December, January, and February are the most popular months for customers to return items each year.
With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that sellers should be refining their return policies. Any e-commerce seller can have a basic return policy, but quality and efficient policies can benefit a seller’s business in a number of ways.
With a quality return policy in place, customers are more likely to trust a business as their preferred merchant, leading to repeat customers.
If customers know that they can trust a seller’s return policy, they are more likely to purchase expensive items.
Having a high-quality return policy can help a business stand out from the competition, meaning customers are more likely to recommend it to their loved ones.
While it is always important to have a good return policy in place, the influx in returns after the holidays requires special precision. Here are our recommendations for handling the high volumes of returns seen after the holidays.
A high volume of post-holiday returns is inevitable after peak season, but there are features that can be added to a returns standard operating procedure (SOP) to simplify this process. Overall, e-commerce sellers should seek to make their return process as easy as possible for themselves and their customers.
Here are some of our tips for creating an efficient returns SOP:
Return policies should be made as attainable as possible. Sellers should advertise this policy openly, ensuring that it is always easy for the customer to find. We recommend that, as a best practice, sellers list their policies on their website as well as email communications on a per-order basis.
It’s also important that sellers make their policy details as transparent as possible. Businesses should provide a list of return timelines, requirements, and any other information important for customers to see. Additionally, with information like return windows changing seasonally, business owners should make sure that their policy is always up-to-date.
If a customer receives a damaged item, e-commerce sellers should have clear rules for how to proceed. If a customer requests a refund, we recommend that sellers ask for visible evidence. In e-commerce returns, the best practice for this is for the customer to provide a picture to the seller displaying the state in which their item was received.
We recommend that sellers decide if customers must return broken products on a case-by-case basis. This simply depends on the item. If the item is low-value and/or unsalvageable, there’s less need to return it depending on the business model. For high-cost items, we recommend that sellers discuss the issue with the customer directly to determine if the item is worth being shipped back.
Business owners should consider incorporating software into their returns process. We recommend that businesses implement an omnichannel order management system that can connect to multiple storefronts, assisting in managing multi-platform return orders in a single place.
Soapbox software offers the ability to easily auto-generate return labels on a per-order basis. E-Commerce sellers can print return labels and send information to customers in real-time for ease of expediting.
In addition to this, our WMS software allows warehouses to easily manage their entire stock of goods. When returns are sent back to these warehouses, team members will evaluate the quality of each item, determining which can be resold or recycled.
To learn more about how Soapbox can simplify your fulfillment, create a free account or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.