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4 things merchants should know about returns and exchanges in 2021

In an eCommerce economy, success hinges on customer service. But great customer service doesn’t end when your customer makes a purchase—the post-purchase experience is just as important when it comes to ensuring that your customers are happy and satisfied!

If your returns and exchanges process is less than stellar, your customer’s experience will suffer. With online shopping being more prevalent than ever, customers are looking for a streamlined return process and if it’s not, they will look elsewhere.

By creating a seamless buying experience from end-to-end, including returns and exchanges, eCommerce businesses can not only increase customer satisfaction but also boost revenue. Stay on top of the game with these top trends.

1. Expect even more returns and exchanges

We told you that online shopping isn’t going away anytime soon, and that means returns aren’t either. In 2020, at least 30% of all products ordered online were returned, which represents a total value of about $50 billion dollars. While some consumers may feel more comfortable shopping in person, in 2021, online shopping will still represent a huge share of consumer purchases. This means that returns and exchanges will continue to be an important issue for eCommerce businesses this year and beyond.

Consumers are more likely to return items purchased online than they are to return items that were purchased in person. We’ve all been there. Some items look different online than in person—whether it’s color, style, fit, or other expectations. Cue buyer remorse which means more returns.

Customers may also receive items that were damaged during transport, or even end up with the wrong item entirely. These outcomes not only lead to more returns but also a negative customer experience, making it more challenging for brands to turn that person into a repeat customer or reliable brand ambassador.

Because returns are so prevalent in the world of online shopping, it’s especially critical for eCommerce businesses to establish a simple (and painless) return and exchange process.

2. Offer a variety of return options (for free)

There are a variety of different ways that eCommerce businesses can accept returns from customers such as:

  • Home pickup

  • Mail

  • Label-less drop off

Customers shop from companies that offer simple, free returns which means you need to choose a method of return that makes it as easy as possible for your customers. Think about it like this: would you shop at a store that made you drive 30 minutes to your nearest Fed-Ex, wait in a long line, and also pay for the return out of pocket? Probably not. When it comes to returns, convenience is key.

Customers tend to prefer home pickup versus drop off options. Not only is home pickup convenient, but it’s also a big benefit while many people may still be wary of spending time in crowded places like the post office.

Anything you can do to bring intention and care to your returns and exchanges process is a positive thing, and it won’t go unnoticed by your customers. 86% of customers reported that a positive returns experience would lead them to shop with the same retailer again.

When it comes to returns remember the following: simple and free.

3. Deliver above and beyond customer service post-purchase

It’s time to take a closer look at how you connect with your customers. The relationship doesn’t stop when they click the “buy now” button. Customers want to know what’s happening throughout every part of the process from when their package is on the truck, to a follow up about how they enjoy the product.

But sometimes things don’t work out, so when it comes to returns, you need to be on your A game. Focus on exchanges. That’s why at Return Rabbit we not only help facilitate painless returns, but also work to reduce returns in favor of exchanges.

This helps eCommerce businesses retain revenue while also developing deeper relationships with their customers. Return Rabbit also offers custom reports and analytics, supply chain consulting, and post-purchase consulting to help ensure that your teams are set up for optimal efficiency and can focus on serving your customers.

Above and beyond customer service includes getting your customers back their money as soon as possible. Sometimes exchanges just aren’t in the cards and no one likes to wait weeks on end to get their hard earned money refunded.

4. Focus on simplicity and customer retention

Post-purchase is a key part of the customer experience—just as critical as the payment and delivery process for eCommerce businesses. Offering a seamless return and exchange process increases trust, improves customer satisfaction, and helps to create loyal repeat customers.

Customers who are stymied by a complicated, inefficient, or expensive return process will be much less likely to shop with an online retailer again. In contrast, customers who experience a simple, intuitive return and exchange process are much more likely to shop with an eCommerce retailer a second time.

By encouraging exchanges instead of returns, Return Rabbit also invites retailers to deepen their relationship with customers by offering alternative products that suit their needs better than the returned items.

Strong returns and exchange policies remain a mainstay in eCommerce businesses.

Ecommerce is growing, and returns and exchanges need to grow with the industry. While returns can be a big hassle for eCommerce companies, they don’t have to be as costly and time-consuming as you’re used to.

At Return Rabbit, we’re here to revolutionize the returns and exchange space. Are you looking to streamline your return and exchange process? Schedule a demo with us today!

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