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ties. What’s more, 87% of consumers are unlikely to buy again from a brand after a poor return experience. All of these stats point to one thing — your return process has an undeniable impact on your customer loyalty, and in turn, your bottom line. Let’s take a look at seven ways you can raise customer loyalty and retention through returns management.



By David Sobie

f you ever find yourself frustrated by dealing with returns, you’re not alone — over 75% of consumers feel returns are the most painful part of buying online. Of course, we know returns are unavoidable — especially in e-commerce, where shoppers can’t try items on before purchasing — but they don’t have to be miserable for you or your customers. By taking the time to put a robust returns solution in place, you have an opportunity to make returns a strategic opportunity for reducing costs, keeping more sales, and increasing customer loyalty. And that last point is significant. With 89% of shoppers checking the return policy before making a purchase, it’s clear that an effortless return experience is at the top of their priori-

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Offer Box-Free Return Drop-Offs Remember how we mentioned that a majority of shoppers find returns to be the most painful part of buying online? Imagine what a big advantage it would be if you could solve this problem for them by letting them eliminate the hassle and wait of returning by mail. Many merchants provide shoppers with multiple delivery options when checking out, like paying more for expedited shipping. The same idea applies to returns, where shoppers want choices and control over the process. Delight them with the convenience of buy online, return to store by offering box-free, in-person return drop-off to a thirdparty network. No shopper wants to deal with the dreaded arts-and-crafts project of printing labels, taping up boxes, and waiting in line at the post office to send items back through the mail. Instead, they can start online and receive a QR code and directions to the nearest drop-off location. Amazon understands the advantage of removing this friction from the online shopper journey and offers multiple box-free drop-off options, from Kohl’s to Whole Foods to the UPS Store. Amazon is training consumers to expect this level of service for all their returns, making it vital for merchants to match this level of convenience. Make Return Drop-Offs Contact-Free with QR Codes The coronavirus pandemic not only altered the way retailers do business, but shifted the ways in which people feel comfortable shopping, as well. While many consumers still crave an in-person experience, they’re looking to do it as safely and with as little contact as possible. As technology like digital wallets becomes a popular payment option to allow for contact-free transactions, similar steps can be taken when it comes to accepting returns. For retailers offering in-person returns, consider using QR codes to allow for a completely touch-free experience. Shoppers can initiate their return online to receive a code corresponding to their unwanted item. That way, when they come in to make the return, they can hold up the code on their phone for an associate to scan and pull up the necessary information. Take things a step further by providing a place for shoppers to bag their items themselves, helping to prevent your associates from unnecessary contact as well. Provide Immediate Refunds Ask a customer service agent the number one question they receive, and they’ll almost always respond with some version of, “Where’s my refund?” When returns aren’t processed quickly, customer service teams receive a higher rate of frustrated calls from shoppers who may not purchase again after a poor experience.

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