Online shopping patterns are shifting rapidly—customers expect a lot in this era. As a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, you must have done everything to differentiate yourself from the competition. You must be offering great products, exceptional order fulfilment, and an incredible customer experience.
Even after providing an unbeatable value for your customers, it isn't enough! Returns, often known as the evil of ecommerce, can ruin the customer experience.
Marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart handle returns on their own by keeping the customer informed at every stage. On the other hand, it is difficult for D2C brands to provide the same consistent customer experience for their brand website.
Therefore, once your customers return a product, you don't have to leave them in the dark—you must be engaging with them when they feel the most vulnerable and make them feel valued.
In this blog, you'll learn what are customer touchpoints, why do touchpoints matter for a D2C brand during a return, and which customer touchpoints you need to focus on during the return journey.
Touchpoints are interactions between a D2C brand and a customer that occur during the purchase journey. These touchpoints significantly influence customer experience as well as brand perception.
By focusing on key touchpoints, D2C brands can capitalise on timely opportunities to improve the shopping experience for their customers.
Now that you know what a customer touchpoint entails, let's see why it's important to focus on these touchpoints after customers decide to return their purchase.
When a customer initiates a return, you must be rescheduling a pickup. Then, you must be processing the refund or shipping another product as an exchange.
You would be wondering, you're already doing the needful so why put in the extra effort?
The reason is customers have to wait for several days for refunds and exchanges—that's why they need to be updated.
There's another question that might come to mind, if customers are trying to return their purchase, they might not shop with your brand again.
According to Loop, there was a 17.8% increase in repeat purchases by customers that received a refund compared to customers that didn't return their orders at all. Moreover, there was a 34% increase in repeat purchases by the customers that exchanged their purchases. Furthermore, the study also found that returns not only lead to more repeat purchases—it leads to faster repeat purchases.
Here are some touchpoints D2C brands should focus on during the returns process:
When customers initiate a return request, D2C brands are most likely to send them a notification acknowledging the request. However, it would be unpleasant to reach the customer's doorstep unannounced to pick up the returned product. There are chances that the customer won't be available and then you have to reschedule the pick up again. Moreover, you wouldn't want the customer to be waiting for days anticipating a pickup and stressing about the refund which is processed after a few days of pickup.
To reduce this anxiety, you can get in touch with your customers notifying them of the scheduled pickup of the order. You can send post-purchase notifications via SMS or email or both updating about the pickup schedule.
When customers receive such an email about the return status, they'll be relieved and feel confident knowing their order will be picked up soon and their refund or exchange will be processed soon enough after that.
Customers can get anxious after the returned product is picked and on its way to the fulfilment centre for quality checks. After all, it takes a day or two or more to ship orders back, and customers would be wondering whether their returned product has successfully made it back. Especially, when the exchange or refund is dependent on the inspection of the returned product.
So, instead of keeping your customers nervously waiting, you can let them know if their returned product has arrived at the fulfilment centre. This way, you can build your customer's confidence in your brand as it shows their peace of mind matters to you. As a result, you can create a pleasant return experience.
Instead of customers calling and bombarding your customer service with “where is my refund or exchange”, you can reach out to your customers as soon as their refund has been issued or their exchange item has been shipped.
It is an excellent opportunity to proactively tell your customers what they've been waiting to hear all these days! Also, before they get frustrated. It is also an opportunity to remind them of an incredible experience with your brand—hopefully encouraging them to come back and shop with you again.
As a D2C brand, customer experience can take you a long way only if you focus on delighting your customers in every way possible. One of such situations is returns—you cannot leave your customers in the dark when they want to return their purchase. It's the best moment to assist them and pave a path for their return to your online store. By ensuring these three key touchpoints into your return process, you can build a more transparent, seamless, and worry-free experience for your customers.