The current refund process could have a catastrophic effect on online retail, and could even become the “silent killer of profits” for the sector. But implementing a digital returns process can help convert 30 per cent of returns to exchanges; delivery management software provider nShift has revealed.
nShift has revealed that returns cost an e-commerce business as much as 66 per cent of an original item’s price, even if customers return it in good condition. To combat this, the firm suggests that businesses should businesses operate an easy-to-use, digital returns process – which could build enhanced trust with shoppers and even grow revenue.
nShift has also released a list of strategies that retailers could potentially use to grow their business with returns. The company has highlighted the power of converting returns to exchanges. It explained that a consumer-friendly returns interface makes it easier for the customer to exchange the item they are sending back for something else from the brand or retailer.
With the right returns software, e-commerce companies can automate the process of offering an exchange. Customers of nShift Returns can convert around 30 per cent of returns to exchanges, helping retailers retain revenue.
To support this, nShift recently launched an ‘Essential’ tier to its Returns solution. The new tier enables retailers to track each return centrally. This helps ensure resalable items return to shelves without delay, while also helping to pinpoint root causes, such as incomplete product descriptions.
The full nShift Returns solution offers an automated platform which aims to ease exchanges at the point of return and automatic refunds.
“Providing a clear returns policy is essential”
Philipp Goldberg, returns product director at nShift, said: “In today’s e-commerce environment, providing a clear returns policy is essential. If they can’t see how they can send back a product, many shoppers simply won’t complete the purchase. But returns also serve as an opportunity to build the business. When retailers get this right, they will convert more returns to exchanges, create new marketing opportunities and reduce returns volumes over the long term.
“To make the most of returns, online retailers and webshops should deploy a returns software solution that creates a cutting-edge consumer experience and captures useful data on sent-back items.”
nShift has also explained other benefits that digital return processes could offer retailers in a battle to keep hold of profits. Manual returns processes make it difficult to gather information about returns. Digital processes can create a wealth of data for businesses to analyse, to help identify trends and patterns. Teams can identify and rectify common problems that are causing items to be sent back; reducing returns volumes over the long term.
The delivery management software provider also pointed to the fact that emails about returns have significantly higher open rates than other retail communications. By weaving marketing messages into these emails, e-commerce companies can create additional sales opportunities.
Digital returns processes can also make it easier to give customers the opportunity to take their items back to a store. By doing so, they will speak with a member of staff who can encourage them to exchange the item. The customer will also encounter additional products and marketing messages in-store.