Blog

Improve your e-commerce by avoiding these five common return mistakes

Whenever holiday-return season come, all e-commerce companies face one critical time that not only turns as a test for their awareness, but also the organizational skills that belong to the retailer. If you have insufficient preparation to overcome this season, it will only leave you at overwhelming situation. As the result, it will cost you almost all resources you get, including customer satisfaction as the crucial aspect as well as money and time. As an excellent manner of ours, we have collected the most-common mistakes e-commerce makes when this season comes. If I stand at your side, the following five points are the exact things I will avoid during the period.


1. Difficult-to-find or unclear return policy
There are different reasons people come to your place for the first time. It may be about your attractive product, its price, your service, or other reasons. However, inviting them to come for the second time or later in the future is totally a different issue. From the first experience they get, they will determine whether your place is worth for their interest and trust. So, the first thing you should offer to them is a reason to raise their interest. Well, different people surely need different reasons to come again to your place, but clear and easy-to-find reason policy stands as the crucial part. People have their right at their hand to know what will happen if they found your product is not acceptable. Clearly states all conditions, regulations, and policies related to this condition, what your customers should do, and what will they get if they found themselves at this condition. The easiest way is to include the regulations at your Terms and Conditions page. You should not use complicate language because not all your customers have law background. Keep it clear, simple, and direct. 


2. Insufficient time for issuing the return 
Item needs time to arrive at your customer’s address and your customers need time to check whether the product has matched with the specifications you posted on the website. Those are two considerations you should take before you decide how long the recovery period for each item on your website. You should also think about public holiday and return period. I strongly recommend to setting the time around 30 days (public holidays are exclusive). It is not too short or too long. Your customers will have enough time to decide whether they should return the item and ask for the replacement or not. This way should provide you the solution for not only building a trusted company, but also performing an internal evaluation of your service.


3. You do not own relevant system to process the return issue
There is nothing remain for you to worry if there is only one person filing the return issue. However, there is no such thing in a business world. You cannot expect everyone to love your product. Sometimes, people may like it. At the other side, people may found it is not acceptable due to several reasons, including incomplete specifications, broken parts, and other issues. Now, in order to speed up the returning process, you need a management system. The purpose is clear. You have lost the trust from your customers, and now they give you second or maybe third chance to re-build it. You must show them that even though the product they purchased unsatisfied them, they still can easily get the replacement.
Start with making precise classifications of item people return to your office into these categories: items you can re-sell, items you cannot re-claim, items that need minor preparation, and items you should sent to their vendors for reparations or cleaning purpose. 
Once you implemented this system, you can save your operational time in dealing with items your customers sent back to you and at the same time increase the amount of the item you can re-sale.

4. There is no staff or not enough staff to handle the return issue
Time is critical in product management, including items people sent back to your office. The longer you keep them in your back room, the less likely you can sell them back. Speed up the process at your back room by increasing the amount of resources it needs. It includes better system, better technologies, better tools, and more staff to handle the process. Yes, you will spend more lots on the process than normal, but the result is important to your company. When you can prove to people that they will get a replacement for their item in the timely manner, they will put their trust again on your company. 


5. You offer free-return and free-shipping processes based on the total purchase your customer made
Free-shipping and free-return policies are the good strategy in attracting people to come to your place, but there is a risk in applying either one or both strategies: you must pick the perfect time. 
If your e-commerce is currently at its early stages, then my recommendation will prohibiting you in applying the policy because it will drastically increase your expenses which lead to higher operational cost than ever. Of course, I cannot address the same recommendation to you if you have the solution that will allow you to cover the extra cost. It is important to get people’s interest, but it will become useless if you get it on the wrong way at the wrong time, especially if you have no plan at all in covering the expense.