The fashion industry’s return management solution for eCommerce
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The recent years have seen a significant rise in the business of eCommerce retailers, and none more so than during the pandemic. Though the boom in eCommerce was evident and ever-increasing even during the last 5-6 years, the onset of the pandemic has transformed it into metaphorical big-bang proportions.
But as the common phrase goes, “Anything Good that happens around gets followed by an accompanying Evil.”
This phrase gets justified more than once in the eCommerce industry, where the percentage of goods returned is on the rise, with estimates suggesting a contrast to in-store purchases. The returns made by customers have been as high as 40% of the goods bought online. Such a high percentage of returns has resulted in a significant headache for eCommerce retailers looking to maximize their revenues through online models.
One may argue that you should brand this practice of a high number of returns being made as unethical or that this should overall be termed as malpractice of sort. Still, the point that customers make in defense of their online shopping activity is that they can’t touch, hold or feel the product, which is none more evident than in the case of the Fashion & Apparel Industry. Hence they are more likely to end up on the wrong side of the deal, which only turns the debate in their favor when the issue of this high percentage of returns is brought up.
But, to be fair, this rampant malpractice can’t be overlooked either, with the industry accustomed to this common knowledge of some customers deliberately resorting to such practices by over-ordering items and then returning them. And this problem has increased manifold after the pandemic when the online mode is the only sales channel available.
There is a dire need to improve returns management in the eCommerce Industry to counter this problem. More accessible and more straightforward ways for tackling this problem need to be formulated.
But before that, let’s look at the process by which the return process operates.
Whenever a purchase is made, the customer realizes the need to return, for whatever reason, and a return request is made by providing the description of the goods and the reason for return. After this, the merchant may or may not approve the proposal, which usually depends upon the product type sold.
Custom-developed return portal
Now, you can customize this return management process to suit the needs and the whims of customers of each specific business through a custom-designed returns portal, which you can tailor according to every merchant’s market.
As it is common knowledge, one of the biggest challenges that businesses face is the return of goods. The returns made may either be a part of the total product sold, or it could be all the products altogether that were sold earlier.
This phenomenon is so rampant because customers might order a few additional products than required, keep the one they need, and then request a return for the others, which eventually harms the business’s day-to-day running. This is because every eCommerce retailer lays out their priority on excellent customer service but dealing with returns more often than not turns out to be a nightmarish challenge for them, and they have to overcome substantial logistical constraints as well.
To deal with this, there should be a Return Management Portal for every online store, which can be custom-made according to their specific needs.
This is done by setting the workflow by defining technical specifications and gathering all the necessary documentation for the relevant third party, a Warehouse, and the Delivery Service, to integrate into the businesses through quality communication.
This setting up of workflow can be followed by the design and the development phase, according to which a streamlined User Experience can be created for easy management by customers.
Return Management from Customer’s Perspective
Whenever a customer decides to return a product, they fill the return portal with different details like their email id, order number and choose the product to return from the selected list of ordered products. Most importantly, it states the reason for their return.
From here, the outcome can either be a simple return where the product gets returned to the warehouse, or it can be a product quality complaint under which the product is delivered to the merchant’s address to check its quality. In short, the customers have a convenient way of returning the product. The client can also dedicate lots of time to business development instead of the warehouse.
Proper management of return items to increase customer retention
The customer’s confidence to buy a product increases manifolds even if they are unsure about the product but know that they can return the product hassle-free and without extra charges.
Now, as we are aware that the highest priority of every eCommerce merchant is to ensure customer satisfaction, so concurrently, the ease of return leads to the same. Consequently, it helps in customer retention.
It cannot be denied that there are many ways you can customize an online store, its return is kept on track, and its number is reduced to as minimum as possible, as it is essential to reduce returns.
And you can achieve this in several ways: providing detailed product information, its complete description and the size guides, customer rating, reviews, and most importantly, by uploading high-resolution pictures for better clarity.
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