The holiday season is over, but the Peak Season continues. So how to deal with the peak of returns that will inevitably hit your eCommerce?

The issue of returns is often underestimated as considered secondary to the preparation for the increase in Christmas sales. Why should merchants take into account the returns of their eCommerce and how can they do it?

Davide, Digital Marketing Manager here at ShippyPro, spoke about it with Emilio Lodigiani, CEO of Tunca. Emilio hosted us within Strategia eCommerce, an interesting podcast channel to stay updated with the latest eCommerce trends and insights.

The interview is in Italian, but read on to find out what they talked about!

What is ShippyPro?

ShippyPro is a 100% Italian company with headquarters in Florence and a second office in London. It is a software for managing the whole post-sale phase of eCommerce. We integrate sales channels and carriers and within our platform, we manage shipments, tracking and returns.

In addition, we offer the possibility to send personalized and branded tracking emails to improve and strengthen the relationship between seller and customer.

Email is a widely used tool, but shipping confirmation emails are really important for the customer and on average have an opening rate of up to 80%.

This allows online sellers to use emails to communicate with the customer with the tracking information, but also for upselling or cross-selling.

How do you manage the connection with the carrier and the logistics?

Within the ShippyPro platform, merchants can connect their carriers’ accounts and price lists. We offer the possibility to compare rates based on the destination and the characteristics of the order and to create the shipping labels in just a few clicks, even for cash on delivery shipments.

Sellers can connect all the carriers of their eCommerce and set up the shipping rules. For example, they can set up a specific courier for specific areas.

And in case of a Return?

We recently developed a product for returns management for all sellers who have either a proprietary site or a site built on Shopify, Magento WooCommerce etc … In practice, they can insert a return form by installing an HTML code script provided by us on a page of their site.

If a customer wants to make a return, he has to fill out the return form by entering the shipment tracking and select the products to be returned. The seller receives an automatic notification and can decide whether to accept the return or not. In case of acceptance, the return label is automatically sent to the customer.

We are in the post-Christmas period which is full of returns. Why is the return aspect so important for eCommerce?

Before bringing a product like Easy Return to the market, we did many studies, finding some periods with higher return peaks.

First of all, just the post-Christmas holiday period (and therefore post Christmas gifts), in which many people decide to make a return for different reasons: unwanted gifts, wrong sizes, etc. In America, they even have the National Returns Day on January 2.

Other periods are post-Black Friday and especially in Italy the last phase of the saldi, but it depends on the product sector.

All these sales peaks must be managed well in advance, thinking not only of sales (main focus of every eCommerce) but also of the return phase, which is still underestimated by many Merchants.

Bad management of the post-sales phase can lead to a negative shopping experience for the customer, who will hardly go back to buying on that eCommerce.

It is well known that Customer Acquisition Cost, even if it varies according to the sector, is nonetheless not negligible. So it is clear that losing a customer for a banality (such as the bad management of a return) can be dramatic.

Do you think it makes sense to offer a prolonged return period?

For very large companies it is now necessary to adapt to the standards of Zalando, Amazon or Walmart in the case of US sellers. So let’s say that big players can set their marketing on the flexibility of the return (see Zalando).

On the contrary, for small businesses the important thing is to be very clear, that is, to have a Return Policy well written, flexible (not too much to avoid opportunistic behavior) and without equivocal sentences, as often happens. In this way, the company’s trust is increased and perceived as more reliable.

We found out that as many as 66% of consumers review the Return Policy before making a purchase. And 15 % of shoppers abandon the cart due to an unclear Return Policy. So the Return Policy must be considered in the purchase funnel because it is the first way to get to know the company.

Do Merchants realize the value of returns within the relationship with customers?

As I said, many Merchants still have not realized the importance of return in the global customer experience because often eCommerce sellers do not have an effective order or purchase tracking system. There are still many merchants who think of limiting returns as much as possible.

Some market studies on the American sector speak of the Service Recovery Paradox.

Service recovery paradox

If a customer has a problem and the seller is able to solve this problem, the customer will on average be seven times more loyal than other customers. So it is not only important to offer an excellent shopping experience right away but it is also important to recover all those errors that can happen.

When did you launch Easy Return? And what do your customers say?

We launched this feature last May, so it’s relatively recent. The main focus was on the user experience side. We wanted an intuitive and easy-to-use system. The first feedbacks are very positive: even those who do not have a peak in returns want this type of application because it saves them a lot of time in management, approval etc.

ShippyPro also provides a return analytics tool to monitor the most returned products, the countries with the highest return rate or the most common reasons for returns.

These statistics are very useful: our customers are able to detect an element that may have escaped. For example, they can proactively understand if there are problems in the description of a product and they can intervene on that to lower the overall return rate.