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The simplest ecommerce returns process

Is it possible to develop and offer customers a smooth and easy to understand ecommerce returns process?   

To answer this question, we put ourselves in the buyer’s shoes and analyzed the 5 steps he must take to return an unwanted item.

What is certain, from the point of view of merchants, is that dealing with returns requires time and energy and can have a negative impact on the growth of your  business, as shown by 57% of the participants in this research.

Moreover, returns have a cost but, as you can read here, 47% of consumers don’t want to buy on an ecommerce that doesn’t offer free return shipping.

Key elements of an ecommerce returns process

What are the key elements of a well optimized ecommerce returns process? Let’s discover them: 

  • Clear ecommerce return policy, so that the customer knows, without the possibility of misunderstanding, if he can return a purchased item that he no longer wants.
  • An online returns portal on your site that allows the buyer to complete the entire process from A to Z.
  • Pre-filled return shipping labels, that the customer can easily print and apply on the package to be returned. 
  • Free or flat rate returns: for the merchant this cost is added to the refund, but is also an incentive to return the product.
  • Automatic updates during each phase of the process in order to inform the customer and reduce complaints emails. 

These elements should never be missing in any ecommerce company’s return strategy. Now it’s time to analyze them from another perspective, that is, following step by step the iter your customer must face to return an article. 


The best ecommerce returns process for your customers

Step 1: The customer initiates the return process with your online portal

What should the buyer come across when he decides to make a return on your ecommerce?

Surely, he should immediately understand what are the return rules you have set: which categories of products can be returned, the time limits to make the return and all the other elements that are part of your policy. 

To provide a clear and complete picture of these rules you can take advantage of an easy-to-integrate feature on your site, ShippyPro Easy Return.

Easy Return is a customized returns portal that your customers can consult without stress and that will help you manage every request, even when the number of returns increases as your brand grows.   

How to integrate this feature on your ecommerce? In the simplest way possible: a copy and paste of a script within your site. 

Step 2: The customer can proceed with the return if allowed

Every return is unique. Beyond the specific conditions of the object, you may decide to accept the return only for expensive products, or only within 15 days of delivery.

Another important factor to consider is the cost of free shipping if  you offer it.

If your warehouse is located in Europe and the recipient is in Australia or in the USA, you could for example refuse free returns, and accept returns only from the closest countries.

For this reason you should always carefully do a cost-benefit analysis of each return. The portal made available by ShippyPro Easy Return will allow you to have a clear picture of the situation.

Step 3: The customer has many refund options that can increase your revenue

The return of a product represents a “small defeat” not only for the merchant, but also for the buyer.  

Identify with your customer: probably on your ecommerce he had found that dress or that handmade item he wanted so much and once delivered, realizing that he received it damaged  or did not want it anymore was unpleasant. 

Maybe this customer follows your brand’s social pages with interest, reads your newsletters and would certainly buy again your products, but when he is going to make the return he is held back by the fear of receiving another product that does not match his expectations.

Why, then, not offer an alternative option to refund, for example discounts or coupons for a second purchase on your ecommerce?

Remember: who wants to make a return is not a lost customer, but a customer to win back.


Step 4: The customer prints the prepaid label and returns the item

After you have accepted the return and offered the customer a full refund or coupons, all he has to do is package the item and apply the return label.

More and more merchants decide to make the label available for free and with ShippyPro Easy Return you can customize this label according to the Carrier in charge of the shipment. 

The buyer will be able to print it through the return portal, without paying a cent.

Step 5: The customer monitors the status of the return with automated notifications

Try once again to put yourself in your customers’ shoes: disappointed, maybe even frustrated by an unwanted object they want to return, they expect at least impeccable assistance

Assistance that should result in proactive and automated notifications on the status of the return.

In other words, the buyer wants to know quickly if his return has been accepted, receive the return label and verify when the article has returned to the sender.

Fundamental rule: don’t make him wait and don’t let him write you complain emails or threaten negative feedback, because lack of clarity or delay in communication won’t help you win him back.

How to use ShippyPro for a fast and easy ecommerce returns process

As you have seen, there are not many fundamental steps to develop a perfectly working return logistics.

In addition, with a feature like ShippyPro Easy Return managing ecommerce returns will be child’s play. In fact, you can:

  1. Create clear return rules and share them with your customers through your online portal.  
  2. Send prepaid return labels to your customers. 
  3. Filter each return by country, Carrier, product or return reason, in order to understand at all times what is wrong and take measures. 

Do you want to offer a unique experience to your customers and regain their trust? 

Start now your free trial of ShippyPro Easy Return: 250 orders to automate your ecommerce returns process and try all the other features of the platform. 

ShippyPro Team

ShippyPro is the complete shipping software for online and offline retail. With Label Creator, Track & Trace, Easy Return and Analytics features, our software simplifies your shipping operations. ShippyPro integrates with over 160 couriers and 80 sales channels, making it compatible with a wide range of products and use cases.