How to manage product return process?

Across a range of verticals, today’s customers look to shop from web stores that offer a smooth return process.

Receiving, fulfilling and delivering customers orders are a part of an order fulfillment process, but very  crucial ensuring that products are delivered to customers in time. But, even more important, is to handle product returns.


Customer’s can return products due to many reasons. Some returns include faulty products, few  due to damaged packaging, while others due wrong product delivered. Regardless to whatsoever reason, such customers are looking to return the product. Now it your responsibility to make it easy for them. By not doing so, can create a bad brand value for your business. However, if you make returns easy for your customers they’ll refer friends as well as prefer your site for future purchases.

But how do you ensure a perfect product exchange process for your customers?

Here are few effective tips:

– Have a clear returns policy in place

The design of your product exchange policy, will make it easier to deal with returns scenarios. Having a clear return policy in place allows you to request the customers to request for the returns online. Not only does it make save you and your customers the time and cost, but also inform them what items can be returned. Make sure you paste the returns and refunds policy on every packaging that you ship as well as post it on a part of your website, specially dedicated for shipping and product exchange policy.

– Identify the reason for the return

You have requested your customers to apply for returns online and you have received a returns request, what’s next? Identifying the reason for returns (are they matching to your policy) is what you should do. This will make it easy and quick to calculate the cost of returns, which in turn aids the action plan quickly.

– Act as per the policy

Once you identify the reason, it makes it quick to take action. For instance, if you customers has requested for a return due to wrong product delivered. You know you’ll have to offer a refund or store credit immediately or once you receive the wrong product in the warehouse. In such situation, before taking an action, it is always suggested to inform the customers about the method of return you will use. Informing your customers upfront will make them feel that you care for them, regardless to the return and may continue to shop from your site in future.

Working your customer’s returns in batches will help you reduce the associated overhead cost as well as increase your time efficiency. For instance, if you dedicate only one hour a day to process ten orders, it is profitable to dedicate one whole day to process returns. By doing this you can process double the number of orders in one hour.

Also, adopting an order management system that offer tools to automatically manage returns will make it very easy to keep a track on product returns and exchange allowing you to get real-time insights to see how many returns are in active progress, how many have been processed, how much time did it take to process each return, etc. Some systems even allow to add notes for each return. These notes come in handy to be careful and take necessary measures when processing orders for the same customers in future. In the end, how you keep your customers happy, will decided the success for your business.

– Try and offer free shipping on returns

Product returns and exchange process also gives you an opportunity to make additional sales. Offering a positive returns and exchange experience to your customers will bring a trust in your customers mind, that in case of returns, their money is in safe hands and repeatedly return to your online store to make additional purchases.

Try and offer free shipping on returns, like an extended period to claim for returns, if any in future. And, if you are doing so, don’t forget to highlight it on your site.
In Closing

Returns justify the quality of your service, therefore every customers who claims for a return should have positive experience which will automatically create a good impression of your brand in the mind and feel encouraged to purchase from you again in future.

If you haven’t given a thought about processing your product exchange, not it the time – especially with Christmas and New year just around the corner!



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