Business Tips 3 min read
21 Feb 2023

What Is Product Returns Management? (+ Best Practices)

What Is Product Returns Management? (+ Best Practices)

Product returns can cause headaches for business owners. Not only will it take your time and resources but affect inventory management.

Because it can also affect customer satisfaction and damage brand reputation. That's not a good thing for your eCommerce brand.

But sometimes... we can't help if customers return the products they ordered.

The good news is... You can manage product returns efficiently to boost customer satisfaction. And that's what we'll talk about in this blog.

But first, let's start with...

What is product returns management?

Product returns management or "reverse logistics" is handling and managing product returns.

This includes receiving the returned item and processing the return to reintegrate the returned product into your inventory.

It also refers to implementing policies when processing returns. Usually, the returns process looks like this:

  1. The customer wants to return the product. This is when the customer decides to return the product they bought and contacts you to process it.
  2. The returned product is received. The customer can return the product to you or your third-party logistics.
  3. The returns process is completed. This depends on what the customer wants and your refund policy. They either want to get a new product or a full refund.

One of the goals of product returns management is to minimize the impact of returns on the supply chain.

So, having a well-design product returns management system should be efficient, cost-effective, and provide a positive customer experience.

5 Product returns management best practices

5 Product returns management best practices

Managing customer returns doesn't have to be challenging... If you have a streamlined returns management process.

That's why we'll discuss some best practices for managing product returns.


1. Have a clear and easy-to-understand return policy

This is one of the keys to managing customer return expectations. You need to lay out your rules and have a Return Policy section on your website.

In doing so, potential customers will have an idea of how you can process their returns. For example, you have to state if they can get a full refund, store credit, or a new product.

Another is by stating which products are acceptable for returns or exchange. For example, if it's poor packaging on your end, then they can exchange the product free of charge.

Or, if the product didn't meet their expectation after using it... That's not a valid reason for exchange as it goes against your sanitary precautions. It really depends on your rules.

You also need to include how you process returns. Do they need to ship the products, or will someone pick them up? This will help you control customer return expectations.

Overall... The policy should cover the types of products that can be returned, the timeframe for returns... and any specific conditions or requirements for returns.


2. Make the return process simple and convenient for customers

Once you have a clear return policy, making the return process as simple and convenient as possible for customers is essential.

This means providing clear instructions on how to initiate a return— whether online or in-store. It's crucial that they know how the process is going to be to avoid bad customer experience.

Also, consider offering return options. They can drop it off in-store or send it through a courier.

This is one of the ways to have an efficient returns management process... By making it easy for your customers and giving them options.


3. Automate the returns process

Another way to make your returns management process efficient is by considering automating the returns.

This will make it easy for your customers and online store. They can initiate returns, track the status or movement, and receive updates on the progress of their returns.

Returns management process automation will not only benefit them... but you can also reduce your workload because you don't have to do everything manually. This can also reduce errors.


4. Provide excellent customer service

Customer service is crucial in managing returns. So, ensure that your customer service team is well-trained to handle customer inquiries and complaints related to returns.

How? You can update customers regularly on the status of their returns. Also, respond to customer inquiries and complaints promptly and professionally.

You see, returns might affect your eCommerce business. But how you handle them will help redeem your business.

And by providing excellent customer service... you can help build customer loyalty and improve your brand reputation.


5. Address the root causes of returns

You might have the most streamlined return process... But that might not be sustainable in the long run if you receive a ton of returns.

Why? Because that can affect your resources and logistics. So, you must reduce the number of returns.

To reduce the number of returns and improve customer satisfaction, it's crucial to address the root causes of returns.

This may involve improving product quality, providing more detailed product information... or improving customer service and support.

You can use different tools or Add-Ons to help you address this. For example, Debutify's Add-Ons can address customer concerns through FAQs, pricing tables, and more.

By addressing the root causes of returns... you can reduce the costs associated with returns, improve customer loyalty, and increase sales.

Streamline your returns management process with these tips!

Having a streamlined return process is crucial to running a successful business. Your customers will have an excellent customer experience from awareness to conversion.

By following these practices, you can grow your business and improve customer satisfaction. But wait...

Even if you already know the best practices in product returns management... It doesn't mean you can't be proactive. Surely, you can build an efficient eCommerce store with these tips...

How to build a single product Shopify store from scratch?

Trisha Ballesteros

Trisha Ballesteros

Trisha Ballesteros is a content writer and digital creator who's skilled and passionate about marketing, social media, tech, and user experience.

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