eCommerce returns can be a massive burden on online retailers. Consider them a plague that vigorously attacks profit margins, incapacitates conversions and ultimately jeopardizes your business.
But, no matter what you do, returns are an inevitable part of any eCommerce business. Furthermore, as the eCommerce industry grows, the rate of return orders is increasing more than ever. Recent market research by Statista states that the cost of return deliveries will shoot up to $550 billion by the year 2020.
Moreover, if this number is compared to the figures from four years back, we can easily observe a 75.2% spike. But, tracing the real cost of returns is still a big problem because most of these numbers do not take inventory losses into account.
However, the compiled data from different sources point to one single thing- eCommerce returns can impact your business and customer satisfaction. For this reason, it is vital that you handle your returns efficiently and under no cases leave them unchecked. Trends from 2019 suggest that return orders can be significantly reduced using appropriate shipping software.
Most common reasons behind return orders
Did you know that 30% of all online orders are returned? Though many customers buy with an explicit intent to return your product, there are other areas where you can take action. For example, out of your total returns-
- 20% of buyers receive a damaged product
- 22% receive a product that looks different
- 23% receive an incorrect item
From the above scenario, it is evident that the majority of your return orders are a result of courier and inventory errors. And that’s where a shipping software comes into play!
How does a shipping software help in reducing returns?
It is no more a secret that your customers want free returns as much as they desire free shipping of your orders. And when they don’t find it with you, they shop somewhere else. If you’re still in qualms about this statement, here’s a statistic to back this up – 79% of your customers want free return shipping.
Moreover, if you’re selling high-cost items on your eCommerce stores, free returns are a must. But considering the courier hassles and the cost that goes into processing a return order, free returns might not seem like a practical option.
eCommerce shipping software has proven to reduce return orders significantly. Whether it is the ease to monitor your inventory or ship at low costs, they simplify eCommerce shipping to a greater extent. Here’s how it contributes to reducing your return orders-
Reducing courier errors with more options
Market research backs up the fact that one of the top reasons for eCommerce returns is the inefficiency of your courier partner. Damaged product, late deliveries, etc. all contribute to increased return orders and can be minimized by choosing a smart courier partner.
However, using shipping software to process your orders can help you reduce these returns significantly. They offer a choice of different courier partners, that can help you ship with all renowned couriers at the best rates. So, hitherto you might have been restricted by the pre-negotiated rates of only one courier. But with shipping software, you can now enjoy much more flexibility.
This, in turn, reduces any chances of damaged delivery as you have the choice of best-delivering couriers at your disposal.
Automated tool to help you find the right partner
What if a tool could pick the right courier for you, depending on a variety of factors such as return rates, delivery times, etc.?
Sounds like something that could help in reducing returns? Because it does!
An ideal shipping software helps you pick the right courier partner for you. It also takes your return orders into account in doing so. A courier recommendation engine will be a good example of it. It runs on a machine learning algorithm and helps you select a befitting courier for a particular shipment.
So, let’s say you were receiving returns that may have been caused due to a courier’s inability to deliver packages on time. With the courier recommendation engine, you could ship with the best-rated courier partner, whose ratings also depended on your delivery zone.
This would minimize your returns by helping you select an efficient courier company.
Free returns with low rates on return shipments
One of the most common problems that eCommerce retailers deal with is shipping costs. And return costs add to this burden of already existing high forward order rates.
Moreover, if you want to retain your customers, you have to provide them with hassle-free returns, which necessarily includes free returns. But, with high shipping costs, there seems to be a paradox of choice. Because it ultimately comes down to either hurting your profit margins or your customers.
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way?
With an eCommerce shipping software, you get the best shipping rates than you get by individually negotiating with a courier. Especially, when it comes to returning orders, shipping software offers much lower rates as compared to forwarding shipping.
This ultimately lowers the burden of costs from your shoulders and provides you with a space to offer free returns to your customers. As a matter of fact, 92% of your customers will buy again from you if you offer free returns.
Better order management
Undelivered orders lead to return shipments. But what if there was an effective way to manage your undelivered orders, that also helped in minimizing your returns?
With shipping software, this is possible. In fact, shipping software is one of the most effective ways of managing your undelivered shipments.
When you monitor your undelivered shipments separately, you get a chance to notice precisely what went wrong behind every single return. It is quite possible that many times the return might be due to an incorrect address or phone number of your buyer.
Shipping software, on the other hand, help you minimize such causes by instigating you of any such errors. Furthermore, there is also a remedy for cases where you get returns because the buyer was not reachable. In such scenarios, a shipping software acts as an intermediary and reaches out to the buyer through IVR calls or SMS to know about their delivery preferences.
This practice has helped reduce the rate of return orders significantly.
You already know that returns are predestined to any eCommerce business. But with efficient management of your undelivered orders, these can be minimized. With appropriate tools and tactics, you can also turn your returns into your profits. A leading example of such a tool is eCommerce shipping software. The sooner you start using it, the faster you begin witnessing results!
Aarushi Ranjan is an eCommerce logistics expert and an avid follower of trends in the eCommerce industry. With her keen interest and expertise in the niche, she has written various articles that aim at educating entrepreneurs and grow their business with practical tips.