It’s amazing how far businesses will go to avoid returns, but the truth of the matter is that these days, they’re just another part of being a retailer.

In fact, as much as 40 percent of merchandise purchased online will be returned, depending on your particular sector, so treating your returns management services as a way to help you focus on better customer service is not only a smart thing to do, it’s practically a necessity.

Using Returns Management as a Buoy for Customers

Good returns management can keep your focus on improving the customer experience, no matter what industry you’re in. After all, today’s shoppers are more savvy than ever. They can quickly and easily research your company and your track record with customer service, including reverse logistics. If they see that you’re great at fulfilling orders, but really sloppy or resistent when it comes to dealing with returns, those potential buyers may choose the competition instead.

Don’t let that happen. Use your returns management to help you focus better on your customer experience in ways like:

  • Allowing more liberal returns policies. It would seem to make sense that a strict returns policy would result in fewer returns, but what generally happens is that your sales drop, too.Instead, choose a more liberal policy that gives shoppers the confidence to try items they aren’t completely sure about because they can’t see them in real life. If your product descriptions are up to snuff, there’s a good chance your return rate will barely budge, but sales will shoot up dramatically.
  • Improving the speed of credits. Faster processing of returns by a dedicated reverse logistics team means faster credits for your eager shoppers. They want their credits today, not next week, so incorporating more automation and ways of tracking shipments, like smart labels, can increase the speed at which you’re able to process the items that are sent back to the store for refunds.
  • Working harder at preventing returns. Believe it or not, you can prevent some returns, you’re not completely at their mercy. By asking customers about their shopping experience and why they’re returning their merchandise in a non-threatening way, you can learn a lot about what it’s like to use your site. Maybe the photos are a little misleading or the product descriptions on a particular item are inaccurate. Collecting this type of data will give you the power to improve the customer experience and save yourself a lot of money that would have been spent processing returns.

Good returns management should be customer-focused, not returns-focused. Of course you need to put the items back on the shelf or dispose of them elsewhere, but if you stop there you miss out on a huge opportunity to connect with your shoppers on a level that most merchandisers neglect.