Shipment and Return Tracking for eCommerce

Oct 26, 2021Inventory Management

Returns are an integral part of the eCommerce business now. While eCommerce returns are an extra hassle for the retailers, they also provide them with a unique opportunity to satisfy customers. Hassle-free returns have a direct impact on the buying decision of customers.

Now that returns are inevitable, it becomes more important for shipments and returns tracking to make sure that no losses are being incurred due to returns.

Return Tracking is done to track the status of orders which are returned either by the customer or by the courier company. This procedure is adopted to ensure that the returned orders are actually being received by the sellers and not getting misrouted or misplaced in transit. Return tracking is of utmost importance for sellers engaged in multi-channel sales predominantly in eCommerce marketplaces like Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, etc.


One of the biggest challenges in multi-channel selling is dealing with eCommerce return tracking. Returns are the biggest contributors to losses incurred by etailers. Since the courier companies are dealing with millions of products in a day there are very high chances that returned products might get misplaced or misrouted. In such cases, the sellers lose the product, end up refunding the buyer and also pay the reverse shipping charges for it. Returned products if not received by the seller’s causes:

Loss= 2*Cost of the product + Reverse shipping charges

Hence, it becomes very important for shipment and returns tracking of every order. An eCommerce return can be initiated anytime within 0-30 days post-delivery of the product. By return tracking, sellers can keep track of their active returns, their status as per the marketplaces and they can also match the data with their own record of the products physically received by them and the condition of the received product. Case studies say that eCommerce sellers who look into return tracking have up to 8% increased profit margins than the ones who don’t.

Return Tracking in 4 simple steps

Step 1 – On a daily basis, keep a channel-wise record of the returns being raised in the channel as customer return or courier return. Do not forget to record the Initiated and expected date of return, Return Reason, Status and Return Condition

Step 2 – Whenever a return is received back mark the status as “Received”, condition as “Damaged” or “Good” and mention the reason for return.

Step 3 – Every 3rd day check the unacknowledged returns and highlight the orders which are not been received for more than 3 days from the expected date of return.

Step 4 – Once you have the list of missing and damaged returns, log tickets in the marketplaces with respective order Ids.

On Hand, inventory should be kept low

Many times people think it is better to stay overstock than understock. But we forget that overstock refers to a situation in which your stock might get wasted in the future leading to your money getting locked up in stock. Therefore you should not keep your inventory levels high as it might cost spending excessively. Keeping high inventory demands you to pay extra storage fees.

You should always remember that the value of goods depends on the demand which keeps changing over time. So you have a large quantity of stock in your warehouse, which later turns out to have less demand, you will end up paying extra storage and warehouse charges. In a market like that of India’s, the demand and supply chain is not static therefore you might face serious loss.

The best way to deal with this problem is to incorporate modern cloud inventory software. Inventory software with artificial intelligence can help you predict inventory requirements according to the trends. Therefore it is much smarter and easier to use wholesale inventory management software.

Analyze the data

Study the returns data to understand the following metrics:

Percentage of customer return and courier return
Percentage of returns by channel/brand/category
Products with the highest number of returns
Courier partners with maximum damaged returns
Courier partners with maximum courier returns
The most common reason for return
Percentage of the wrong item received
Listing with the highest returns
Once we have the results of the analysis handy, take necessary actions on them. For example, if there is a specific product with the most numbers of returns check the return reasons for it. If the major reason is poor quality look at delisting the product from the e-commerce marketplace, or if it is a size issue update the sizing information on all the portals. Similarly, based on each metric take necessary actions to minimize e-commerce returns.

4 Ways to reduce eCommerce returns

Focus on listing quality
Listings represent your products and company. Make sure it is presented in the right manner and reflects the image of your brand. Don’t try to save a lot of money there. Provide detailed product specifications and high-resolution product images for customers.

Don’t compromise on packaging quality
The packaging does matter make sure you have sturdy packaging that can survive through rough transportation conditions. Use good packaging material and appropriate packaging techniques.

Provide accurate size charts
Spend more time in taking proper measurements and providing correct accurate size charts to the buyers. Also, based on customer feedback provide informative notes like “ This product is usually bought a size smaller/larger”

Follow a QC Process
Make sure you are dispatching the right product and quantity. Nobody would like to buy a bad quality product. An efficient quality check process before shipment can reduce the returns to a great extent. Make sure that the dispatched product is a fresh piece with good product quality and packaging. This will not only reduce the returns but also create a brand name among the buyers.


Shipment and return tracking are some of the most important functions. Returns not delivered back to sellers, directly impact their profits. Easyops provides the most comprehensive return tracking and reconciliation module for eCommerce sellers.

Multi-channel selling may seem overwhelming at first but everything comes with its own pros and cons. Returns are complex and difficult to manage. A successful shipment & return tracking process is the key to success in multi-channel sales.

With proper management processes and data capture, sellers can succeed in multi-channel sales.

Start shipment and return tracking now with !