Reverse logistics are tough on all kinds of businesses, but they’re particularly hard for eCommerce retailers. These folks can experience as high as 30 percent in returns in any given sales cycle!

Whether your company sees a lot or just a few returns, it’s important that your returns process be as good as it can be. This helps eliminate waste and increases customer happiness, leading to more sales over the long run.

Your Returns Process Can Be Better

How long does it take your returns management team to go from receiving a package to having fully processed the return?

Chances are good that they could be doing it a lot faster, no matter how well they’re doing now. But you can’t expect reverse logistics to magically fix itself, instead you’ll need to put some effort into it. 

Here are five surefire tips for better returns:

  • Have a clear returns policy. Customers and potentials tend to look at returns policies before they buy anything. Even if they make a purchase first, they’re going to go straight to that page when they discover that their item was mispicked, wasn’t what they expected or that they simply didn’t want it when it arrived.Your returns policy should be clear so that both of you understand what’s to be done about this issue. The less you can leave in the gray, the less likely you are to have a shopper who firmly believes the returns policy is in their favor and you weren’t fair when you denied their return.
  • Maintain open communication with the returner. You don’t have to personally call or email the person returning an item, but sending automated messages as their item moves through your returns process really helps keep consumers happy. They just want to be able to check their status and know when their credit will post.
  • Take advantage of smart labels. Smart labels help your reverse logistics team know exactly where the items being returned are and when to expect them. This can help them better plan for and organize incoming items, removing some of the chaos from the equation that is reverse logistics and generally speeding up the whole process.
  • Reprioritize the processing of credits. If you generally process credits after your people have finally chosen a route of disposal for the returned item, try instead to have a quick inspection of the item up front that allows you to immediately issue a credit. Your customers will be happier, more likely to buy again because they don’t wait forever for their money and your reputation will grow from word of mouth.
  • Constantly strive for improvement. Choose data points and monitor them religiously. When you can automate a process, automate it.If you can speed up the disposal or restocking of items, you may be able to improve your return on them. Every little change can make a big impact. Constantly strive for improvement throughout your returns process and it’ll help your bottom line and your customer experience at the same time.

You’ll never lose by trying to improve your returns process. It may seem like throwing a lot of good money after bad, but the truth is that you’re building goodwill and customer loyalty, along with recovering some percentage of your cost. Keep the customer experience in the front of your efforts and your business will thrive.