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How Fulfillment Makes the Sale: Product Returns

This blog is part four in a four-part series about ways that order fulfillment impacts customer satisfaction. To download the full guide “4 Ways Fulfillment Can Make (or Break) Your Next Sale”, click here.

If there is one thing in this world that strikes fear into the heart of every ecommerce retailer, it’s hearing the word ‘returns’. Everybody has them, but nobody wants to deal with them. As an outsourced fulfillment provider, we tackle the returns process for all of our ecommerce clients – and although it’s not always the easiest facet of fulfillment, it’s necessary and it’s important.

But returns don’t have to be painful – for you or your customers! In fact, they can actually encourage future purchases and build lifelong loyalty if done correctly. Here are a few suggestions that we’ve seen work wonders:

  • Make everything easy. If making a return is even the slightest bit inconvenient, shoppers will hesitate to buy from you again (or, if your return policy sucks, buy from you in the first place). Take customer-in-mind steps to make the returns process easy: insert RMA (return merchandise authorization) forms in every package, include a card with direct phone numbers and email addresses for your customer care department, or include a return label and/or return packaging inside the order box.
  • Sync your fulfillment services with customer service. Your warehouse processes the order and the physical return, but your customer care team will undoubtedly be handling the trickiest side of the return – your customer. That’s why it is important to have both operations and customer service personnel working together to understand what each side does during the returns process and to share customer feedback to make future returns smoother. Having an awesome warehouse management system (WMS) that’s accessible to both departments helps with this, so consider investing in upgraded technology if your current setup can’t offer it.
  • Don’t take it personally. People returns products. That’s just the nature of retail. Most of the time, returns have nothing to do with dissatisfaction with your brand or your company, it’s simply that the person didn’t like the product, it didn’t fit, or it didn’t work with their lifestyle the way they thought it would. So with that in mind – don’t ever, EVER get defensive about a simple return. Instead of seeing a returned order as a failure, take it as an opportunity to learn more about that customer and personalize future offers to what they like.

Download our resource guide with even more tips – and keep checking back to learn other ways that fulfillment can impact customer satisfaction!

Miss the other three installments? Read about how order delivery, shipping options, and appearance and accuracy can help make your next ecommerce sale.

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