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9 ways to make returns management your revenue driver
Order fulfilment

9 ways to make returns management your revenue driver

Versha Kamwal
February 20, 2022
mins read

Returns are one of the most significant pain points of ecommerce brands. According to research, 57% of online retailers say that returns have a negative impact on the day-to-day functioning of their business.

Not only do returns incur inconvenient hidden costs, but it often takes ecommerce brands sometime before noticing that they're losing a significant amount of profit due to returns. This calls for a strategic way to reduce ecommerce returns—most importantly, manage returns efficiently.

However, processing returns is more complex than simply shelving items back for re-selling. Returns management is a comprehensive process that aims to minimise the financial burden for the ecommerce business and create a hassle-free process for customers.

In this blog, you'll learn what is returns management, how can ecommerce brands ensure efficient returns management, and how Eshopbox makes returns a competitive advantage for ecommerce brands.

What is returns management?

Returns management, also known as reverse logistics, is the process an ecommerce brand follows to manage ecommerce returns.

It includes the entire return journey from the moment a customer initiates a return:

  • Return shipping of the product—from customer's location to the warehouse
  • Final disposal of the returned product, including recycling, refurbishing and restocking for re-sale

A high return rate affects an ecommerce brand's profitability negatively. Not only you have to let go of the revenue gained from that sale, but you have to bear additional costs. These include the cost of return shipping, conducting quality checks, refurbishment cost, the cost of repackaging and restocking the product.

Moreover, if you don't plan on restocking the returned products, you would require additional storage space and labour to store these items—and increase your holding costs. And if you store them for a long time, their value may also depreciate, and their marketability will decrease.

Returns management by Eshopbox
Returns management

How can ecommerce brands ensure efficient return management?

You can optimise the entire returns management in the following ways to ensure an efficient return journey:

1. Formulate a quick and easy process for initiating a return

Make sure that the procedure for making a return is fast and simple for your customers. This will help you create a hassle-free return experience from the get-go. Otherwise, you'll be bombarded with hundreds of emails or calls from frustrated customers.

2. Turn returns into exchanges

You can drive exchanges by encouraging customers to buy another product when they return an order by giving colour, size, and style recommendations. This will help you retain the revenue from the sale, and you only have to incur expenses for restocking the returned product. You can also give your customers the option to get their refund in their store wallet so that they can purchase something else in the future—as an attempt to retain your customer and recapture revenue in the future.

3. Schedule return shipping of the product

When a return is initiated, you need to schedule the pickup of the returned product. Unfortunately, this means you have to pay for the return shipping. However, you can align the pickup with an upcoming scheduled delivery in the same or nearby location. This will help you save on return shipping.

4. Distribute your inventory across India

You can split your inventory in fulfilment centres across India to expedite order delivery as well as the speed of returns. It will help you optimise reverse logistics, i.e. restocking the returned products in the available inventory and making them re-sellable quickly.

5. Conduct quality checks

When you receive the returned product in the fulfilment centre, conduct quality checks to find out defects and damage of any kind in the returned product.

6. Refurbish the returned product

If the returned product is found to be defected or damaged during the quality check process, repair and refurbish it to fix the product.

7. Raise a claim on the marketplace

If the return order is initiated on a marketplace and found to be defected or damaged, raise a claim based on the guidelines set forth by the marketplace.

8. Restock the returned product

After refurbishing the returned product, quickly restock the product in your available inventory for re-selling.

9. Combat return frauds

You can protect your ecommerce business against returns fraud by detecting fraudulent behaviour via fraud-protection software. You can also implement a quality check at the customer's doorstep and Send OTP (one-time-password) to the customer to ensure delivery of high-value orders. This will help prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of your return process for financial gain.

How Eshopbox makes returns a competitive advantage for ecommerce brands?

Eshopbox helps you manage returns effectively by ensuring revenue is recaptured in the following ways:

1. Customer portal for a seamless experience

Your customers can easily initiate refunds and exchanges on the Eshopbox's customer portal. This self-service portal also enables you to send automated return notifications to your customers via SMS and email.

Initiating returns on the customer portal
Initiating returns on the customer portal

2. Automated returns tracking

Eshopbox auto-syncs your returns across multiple sales channels. This means Eshopbox's powerful return inventory tracking helps you stay notified when returns are initiated on any sales channel with easy and hassle-free return labels.

Returns tracking
Returns tracking

3. Easy exchanges

Eshopbox enables you to turn returns into exchanges on the customer portal. When your customers have the wrong colour or the wrong size, Eshopbox helps them find the right replacement with easy one-click exchanges.

Initiating exchanges on the customer portal
Initiating exchanges on the customer portal

4. Timely return processing

When returned products reach the fulfilment centre, Eshopbox conducts a quality check to determine whether products are ready to sell again. The items in good condition are quickly restocked, items that need to be revamped are refurbished, and the items in bad condition automated reports are generated to file a claim.

5. Ability to recover losses

Marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, and more allow ecommerce brands to claim reimbursements for defective returns within a specific timeframe. Eshopbox's auto-generated reports help you monitor and file claims by generating a Claim Filing Report (CFR).

Moreover, Eshopbox's tech-enabled fulfilment centres have dedicated return processing workstations equipped with cameras for photography and videos to provide you with the proof (images and videos) for defective items.

Furthermore, return data is automatically synced from marketplaces and shopping carts so that you can identify products with high return rates to formulate corrective measures through insightful reports.

6. Prevention of returns fraud

Eshopbox can help you save costs and arrest leakages on the spot by configuring doorstep quality checks and ensuring that only legitimate returns reach the fulfilment facility. Moreover, Eshopbox has the ready infrastructure enabled with CCTVs and cameras to capture proof of return fraud.

7. Management of exceptional scenarios

There are situations when returned products are lost, stolen or damaged— resulting in major losses. To manage and mitigate losses due to exceptional scenarios in the return journey, Eshopbox follows a standard workflow to manage each defective scenario to realise maximum value.

Bottom line

An efficient returns management works in multiple directions. If you can handle the process quickly and efficiently, it might help you reach your goals rapidly. External help will accelerate the process and amplify the results. It will help you manage your returns and the losses that come with returns and boost sales and build everlasting confidence of your customers in your commerce brand.

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