Are product return worries keeping you awake at night? Do you wish there was a better way to manage returns within Shopify? If the answer to both questions is yes, you need to familiarize yourself with solutions designed to simplify returns and even *shock alert* transform them into an advantage.
AfterShip Returns and Happy Returns are two platforms that offer features to help merchants optimize and automate their return process. Both ensure a happy post-purchase experience by reducing return friction for eCommerce customers and also integrate seamlessly with other software. But how do you decide which is the better option for your business?
In this article, we’ll make a detailed, head-to-head comparison between AfterShip Returns and Happy Returns. Read on if you’ve been wanting to ditch manual returns and learn everything you need to select the best RMA app for your Shopify storefront.
Happy Returns vs. AfterShip Returns: Platform capabilities
As you know, eCommerce returns have a lot of moving parts. You need robust, flexible, accessible features that can help you navigate the different stages of the return process. Using information from both Happy Returns and AfterShip Returns websites, we’ve broken down the functionality each solution has to offer:
Intuitive returns portal
In times where customers demand fast and seamless returns, keeping your finger on the pulse of returned items is crucial. While some eCommerce store owners will attempt to do this manually, taking that route is extremely time-consuming. It makes sense to use a platform that consolidates all your returns into a single, easy-to-understand dashboard.
A return portal is a self-service return solution in which the consumer initiates a return using an online system. Typically, the portal will be placed on the retailer's website in a prominent area, such as the footer or main navigation menu.
The intuitive return portal is where the customer's online returns are processed. To jumpstart the returns process, nearly all returns management systems including AfterShip Returns Center and Happy Returns employ a gateway. The goal is to relieve load on your support personnel by allowing consumers to conduct the returns procedure on their own.
AfterShip Returns offers a robust returns portal that gives you a 360-degree view of your returns and return requests. A smart filter and search function helps you categorize RMAs by the customer email, return method, carrier, or status. You can also use the same dashboard to approve or reject return requests with one click.
The AfterShip Returns Center also makes it simple to locate delivery exceptions. To make it happen, you must sync shipments to AfterShip in order to conveniently monitor delivery statuses and resolve errors faster. Interestingly, by using tags to simplify return processing, you may better manage and organize returns by adding specific and useful tags to RMA requests. This allows you to rate the quality of returns using grade tags, search returns by tags, filter return requests by tags, assign one tag to numerous things, and upload photos of goods as they arrive.
CSV files are usually used for importing and exporting vital information, such as customer or order data, to and from your database. A more concrete example would be an eCommerce company that purchases client data from a social networking service. The AfterShip Returns platform enables you to export CSV returns in order to assess your return performance and determine which goods are returning to the warehouse.
If you’re worried about delivery exceptions, you can sync the return shipments to AfterShip’s core platform to easily monitor their statuses and address exceptions faster. Plus, the portal lets you approve RMAs for specific items or high-value goods manually to minimize the return fraud rate.
Happy Returns also offers a returns portal, but we’re not sure whether it helps merchants find and resolve delivery exceptions. Additionally, AfterShip Returns supports 17 carriers for printing return labels, whereas Happy Returns only supports five at the time of writing.
Additionally, tracking and reporting are important features of the platform. The merchant dashboard gives insight into the what, when, where, and why of your returns, as well as clear accountability of each return's status as it travels back to your warehouse. If you're dealing with global shipments and returns, Happy Returns offers a standardized international returns experience with language translation, various shipping choices, and a consistent experience that benefits both customers and customer support staff.
Branded returns page
When a customer is making a return, they’re already feeling some element of dissatisfaction with their purchase. No matter the return reason, this is prime time to reinforce your branding and make sure that the customer knows who you are and what you’re all about.
That’s why it’s critical to be able to customize your return page with your company’s branding. When you do this, you’re not only helping to solidify your brand—you’re also creating a smooth, steady, and reliable returns process for your customers.
While there are several returns management systems to select from, not all of them provide companies with the same amount of customization. Most solutions will let you upload your own logo or modify the background picture. However, it is tough to have your return portal fully match your brand without bigger design modifications. With AfterShip Returns Center, retailers can completely customize their return gateway with only a few clicks.
A branded returns page is another way of telling your customers that you’re here for them and that you’ll provide them with the best possible experience moving forward.
Happy Returns will allow you to effortlessly change out your mobile and desktop background graphics in the merchant dashboard, as well as personalize welcome, item list, confirmation messages, default login method, and much more.
And you’re in luck: both Happy Returns and AfterShip Returns Center offer customization for your returns page. They also ensure that customers can access their returns quickly and easily by entering two identification details. For Happy Returns, these two details are the order number and ZIP/postal code. For AfterShip Returns Center, they’re order number and email address.
Here's an example of what your customers will see:
With AfterShip, your branded returns page also allows you to:
- Build your page easily, without any web development knowledge or experience
- Dynamically display featured products to your customers
- Provide information in multiple languages for international customers
The AfterShip Returns Center makes an excellent first impression. It is considered that a stylish and mobile-responsive returns page increases client trust in your business. With this functionality, you will have fewer ineligible returns and more satisfied consumers. Simply list the returns window and non-returnable products clearly to prevent consumer misunderstanding.
You must now discover the most prevalent return cause in order to prevent making the same error in the future. To do this, you must establish a better product portfolio with more accurate feedback by allowing consumers to indicate the appropriate cause for return. Ensure that various return reasons are put up, that sub-reasons are added to the main reasons, and that return reasons are grouped by product category.
The faster you relay the real-time statuses of returns to customers, the more they’ll trust your brand—coming back to repurchase. As such, the returns platform you choose should help you keep customers in the loop as updates happen in real-time.
Dealing with returns is inevitable when selling online. Customers return things for a variety of reasons, including a damaged product, the incorrect item, a product that seems different than it did online, or the purposefully selected alternative sizes or colors.
High return rates are a challenge for eCommerce businesses. It has the potential to destroy your profitability. Many merchants, however, disregard their return policies and processes.
Any return policy is an essential component of your eCommerce strategy. See why you should now if you haven't given it any thought.
Both AfterShip Returns and Happy Returns enable you to give customers timely updates on their returns, with AfterShip offering a little more on top:
- Custom-branded notifications without AfterShip Returns’ logo
- Return status alerts for warehouses and distribution centers
- Multilingual email and SMS updates
- Customer timezone-based SMS scheduling
Everyone loves transparency. AfterShip Returns Center can give it to you as you process returning your products. To increase customer loyalty and prevent questions, the platform will deliver proactive returns and refund status messages. AfterShip Returns Center is a returns gateway that may be completely customized. It has been meticulously engineered to make returns easier for your consumers. It is designed for fast-growing online shops and includes features such as email alerts at each stage of the returns route to keep customers informed at all times.
It’s also worth mentioning that Happy Returns offers only email notifications for returns and not SMS, which limits your overall reach.
Metrics, automations, and more
AfterShip Returns and Happy Returns offer several other functions, although the latter’s website doesn’t offer as much detailed information. Nevertheless, here’s how the two platforms compare.
AfterShip Returns Center data analytics can facilitate a clearer grasp of your return performance, allowing you to better manage inventories and optimize product offers. This will benefit your eCommerce store in terms of lowering return rates and enhancing customer experiences.
Another benefit of using the AfterShip Returns Center is that you will obtain actionable information. This will allow your organization to rethink its operational workflows and enhance its returns policy, allowing it to optimize its operations and generate reduced return rates. Take advantage of the opportunity to enhance your product offerings by leveraging the power of SKU-level returns analytics to uncover significant return causes for items and their variations, such as color, quality, and size.
Both Happy Returns and AfterShip Returns offer data dashboards for evaluating return performance in real-time. AfterShip Returns gives you an insight into the trends highlighting how quickly your returns are being processed and the steps you can take to speed up the process. Additionally, it lets you calculate how significant the return cost is for your business with robust high-level refunds and returns metrics. Happy Returns also provides fairly detailed reports, although data points may be a little limited.
AfterShip Return’s automation tools take a lot of things off your plate. Once you’ve created an account, you can configure the platform to:
- Automatically update the status of the returns to “in-transit” to make a quick refund to customers
- Automatically update return status to “shipment received” when the returned item arrives
- Automatically restock returned products on Shopify and make them available for sale
One advantage of AfterShip Returns Center automation is that it speeds up the return process. By automatically updating the returns order status, the platform will simplify complicated return procedures and provide a better customer experience. It will return things to the consumers and settle the demands more quickly without adding significant expenditures to your bottom line. Also, meet consumer expectations by providing a quick return experience. Increase operational productivity by using AfterShip tracking to automate return status updates.
Additionally, AfterShip offers country-specific routing rules to help you improve the customer experience. These let you process returns for customers with their couriers of choice.
Happy Returns also automates the returns process, but the workflows it provides are a little basic. In most cases, users will need to use multiple third-party integrations just to automate its processes.
Happy Returns vs. AfterShip Returns: Integrations
“I like my tech stack bloated!” said no one ever. When choosing a returns platform for your eCommerce store, be sure it complements your existing workflows rather than creating silos in your operations.
Happy Returns integrates well with a range of eCommerce solutions, from online store builders to shipment tracking platforms. Users can plug and play with 40+ integrations, meaning a variety of processes can be adjoined to increase business productivity.
Happy Returns' integrated return policies include final sales, return windows, holiday return windows, and many more features. The platform also allows customers to choose their favorite carrier depending on their region and preferences, or to let our program do the work for them.
AfterShip Returns, too, integrates with various systems, including Shopify, Squarespace, Magento, and WooCommerce, to name a few. Plus, if you implement the full suite of AfterShip products (i.e., shipment tracking + returns management + shipping API), it opens the door for you to connect with 129+ tools and platforms.
The AfterShip Returns Center API and webhooks enable merchants to gather and deliver up-to-date return and refund data, ensuring consistency across systems and enabling operational expansion. The program allows you to import client order data from third-party systems/software into the AfterShip Returns Center and make it available for your branded returns page and exchange sales search.
So while both solutions promote cross-functioning between your systems, AfterShip offers a lot more in terms of variety and category of platforms you can leverage.
Happy Returns pricing vs. AfterShip Returns pricing
Money isn’t everything, but when you don’t have a budget the size of technology giants like Amazon, it’s definitely worth considering.
With AfterShip Returns, pricing varies according to the plan:
- The Free plan costs $0 and allows you to process 3 returns per month
- The Essentials plan costs $9 and allows up to 20 returns per month
- The Pro plan costs $199 and offers a limit of 1,000 returns per month
- The Enterprise plan has custom pricing and offers 3,000+ returns per month
AfterShip Returns’ basic plan is free forever, so if you get just a couple of RMA requests per month, you’ll never have to upgrade or pay a premium to handle customer returns.
Happy Returns’ price plans are also listed on its website—although they’re not as straightforward as AfterShip Returns’ pricing. Plans include:
- Plus, which costs $500 per month and allows for unlimited returns
- Plus for PayPal, which is free to use for merchants offering PayPal checkout
- Plus for Enterprise, which is free to use for enterprises offering PayPal checkout
However, all these are surface-level prices because additional fees also apply. As a Happy Returns user, you’ll pay:
1) Shipping label fees when using Happy Returns’ carrier accounts
2) Collection fee for returns received at Return Bars
3) PayPal Checkout fees
The extra fees make AfterShip Returns seem like a better choice. Compared to Happy Returns, AfterShip Returns lets merchants use their preferred checkout and generate pre-paid return labels regardless of their shipping volume.
AfterShip Returns takes the crown
To regenerate your returns right now, go over these two returns management platforms and balance the features based on your demands.
Consider your existing shortcomings in your returns process while developing a long-term plan. How many of the factors that comprise the ideal experience do you now offer? You may also compare yourself to the industry and your rivals.
After reviewing all the nuts and bolts of Happy Returns vs. AfterShip Returns, it’s clear that AfterShip Returns has an edge in terms of intuitiveness and affordability. The platform has a great returns portal, SMB-friendly pricing, and various automation for eCommerce businesses. Best of all, it’s completely free to use for three returns per month. Give your customers a seamless and engaging return experience to drive brand loyalty. Get started with AfterShip Returns today.