On Track: Going beyond returns and exchanges with AfterShip Returns

On Track: Going beyond returns and exchanges with AfterShip Returns
Photo by Mediamodifier / Unsplash

We've all been there - that pair of jeans that looked perfect online but didn't quite fit right when they arrived. With the inevitable rise in online returns, some platforms offer fancy features like 2-day shipping or automated return processes. But what if those one-size-fits-all solutions don't exactly fit your business?

Well, according to a recent study by AfterShip, you're not alone. A whopping 40% of folks surveyed said they'd rather swap their purchase for something different.

In this blog post, we'll answer some common hurdles submitted by some users regarding returns and exchanges and share some handy tips to help overcome them. Whether you're a small business owner just starting out or an old hand at eCommerce, this info is key to keeping your customers happy and your profits healthy. So grab a coffee, settle in, and let's get started!

How can I ensure warehouse teams are informed?

Imagine your warehouse team as the heart of your operations, pumping life into your inventory management and ensuring returns are processed efficiently. But just like any heart, it must be well-informed to keep everything running smoothly. Good communication between teams can make the whole process feel like a walk in the park and keeps shoppers satisfied to come back for more.

One solution to ensure your warehouse team is informed is by using AfterShip Returns. When a return is requested, internal notifications are sent out, which are directly linked to a trackable Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) numbers. Retailers and shoppers can track items in real-time through portals like AfterShip. Access to this information means warehouse teams can stay up-to-date with all return requests and ensure incoming packages are processed immediately.

In addition, merchants can provide packing slips that accurately identify the items and return requests upon arrival. Never before has it been more efficient to restock returned items and reduce processing errors. By providing clear and accurate documentation to your warehouse team, you can help streamline the entire return process.

To go beyond this, consider integrating with solutions like AfterShip Returns with 3PLs like ShipBob, ensuring your warehouse team is informed throughout the return process. For example, these integrations may auto-create Advanced Shipping Notices (ASN) and Warehouse Receiving Orders (WRO) to unlock detailed return information and shipment visibility. Connected merchants can often reduce manual workloads and ensure their teams are always in sync with real-time reverse logistics data. Diving into the AfterShip and ShipBob integration, brands can pass off item receipts to the ShipBob warehouse teams, easing the congestion and workload on internal teams.

How do I deal with a warranty item instead of a return or exchange?

The market for extended warranties has exploded, with a growth rate of 8.8% projected from 2023 to 2030, according to a report by NextMSC. However, for many retailers, handling warranties still feels like wrestling with an old-fashioned, clunky typewriter. It's a manual process that can drain time and effort for both customers and staff.

Without a clear and automated warranty system in place, customers can end up pulling their hair out over a broken item. They might even start questioning your brand's quality and commitment to customer happiness– potentially snowballing into negative reviews or dips in customer loyalty.

One solution to streamline the warranty process is to leverage AfterShip Returns as a return and warranty management system. With automated question flows, photo uploads and descriptions, and packing slips, customers can easily initiate a warranty claim through the same platform used for returns. This eliminates the need for separate forms and manual processing, saving both time and resources for your team. By integrating warranty management into the same system as returns and exchanges, you can provide a more seamless customer experience while improving operational efficiency.

How can I support customers when exchanges don’t make sense?

Exchanges can be a real crowd-pleaser, boosting customer happiness and loyalty. But sometimes, things can get a little murky, especially with certain product types or categories. Like that lipstick your customer tried on just once or the swimsuit that didn't quite fit right. Due to hygiene reasons, these items might not be exchangeable.

In such scenarios, it's worth taking a closer look at your product range and ensuring you're clear with customers about what they can expect.

One way to lend a helping hand to your customers is by using the analytics dashboard of your solution, like AfterShip Returns. It provides insights into why returns are happening in the first place - maybe those jeans run a size smaller than usual? By understanding common return reasons, you can take proactive steps. Consider adding a sizing chart or showing models and their sizing. This can help your customers make informed buying decisions and reduce the chances of them sending items back.

Equally important is to have your return policy in plain sight for customers. It's all about setting the right expectations and ensuring customers know the ins and outs of returns. If that dress has been sitting in the wardrobe for months or has seen better days, it might not be eligible for return. By spelling out these policies from the get-go, you can dodge misunderstandings and make the return process a breeze for both customers and your team.

Want to learn a little more about AfterShip Returns? Our experienced team of dedicated success managers, onboarding specialists, and support are ready to help you take your returns management to the next level. With our global perspective and expertise, we can help you improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and enhance your brand reputation. Click here to get started with AfterShip Returns today and experience the power of our platform for yourself!

AfterShip On Track is a new blog series that provides eCommerce retailers and merchants with actionable tips to help them succeed. From industry insights to product advice, AfterShip On Track shares the latest news and trends in eCommerce.