Online shopping must once again compete with in-store retail.
As many parts of the country begin to reopen, people are moving away from their computers and devices to venture outside into restaurants and malls.
Online shopping should take a hit.
Some retailers have seen significant increases in online shopping during the pandemic. In some cases, it is up over 400%.
This is a huge increase and one that many businesses will want to continue because online is definitely viewed by many as a more profitable retail channel than maintaining physical stores.
Online shopping must once again compete with in-store retail. Key things like return policies and systems will make or destroy many businesses.
Businesses that acted quickly during the pandemic to review and introduce sound return policies and systems will be well positioned to compete with physical retail, continue to grow their customer base online, and achieve higher levels of loyal customers.
When repeat customers make up over 50% of your online sales, it is considered the holy grail of online retailing. It means you are doing all the right things.
Discounts and offers will only take returning customers so far. If a customer bought an item online and when it arrived it didn’t fit or was the wrong color and had a lot of trouble returning it, it’s unlikely they’ll buys from the company again.
The best return policies and systems are the ones that provide the easiest, cheapest return experience for the buyer.
Have a return guarantee that builds buyer’s confidence
Retailers who actively promote a âno questions askedâ return guarantee for products generate increased confidence and better buying decisions among buyers.
Essentially, return guarantees take the anxiety and resistance out of the buying process which is very important when selling items online. A customer’s buying journey can be inconsistent. It is therefore essential to remove as much friction from the process as possible to increase sales results.
Make sure return policies are easy to find
Having good return policies is one thing, but they should be findable and highly visible online and, if possible, integrated into the sales process.
If buyers have to dig to find them, it lowers their buying confidence. Make sure the policies are well placed on your site or app.
Make sure the policies are easy to follow
There is nothing worse than complex and difficult to follow return policies that force buyers to jump through the hoops and spend a lot of money returning items.
This is actually the mark of poor customer service. While some companies may take this approach, it’s just churn and burn, because once customers face the wrong policies, they rarely, if ever, buy from the retailer.
Make sure the return policies are easy to follow, involve the least amount of effort on buyers, and don’t cost them much.
Hire a good logistics partner to handle returns
One of the biggest bottlenecks to the growth of small and medium-sized businesses is not the fast and systematic online order processing that gives customers full visibility into order status and the location of the package.
Third-party logistics partners can not only take care of the picking, packing and shipping aspect of your business, but also manage the returns process.
This relieves the company of heavy labor so it can focus on growing and selling, while companies like ours take care of everything else, including managing returns.
Managing returns is one of the most important aspects of online business. If a customer has a great experience with a return issue, they’ll buy again with confidence.
Now more than ever, as online business competes with offline businesses, return processes will help you win the fight or lose it.
Jam Pathirana is CEO and founder of e-commerce organization B dynamic.