Returns are an integral part of the eCommerce business now. While eCommerce returns are an extra hassle for the etailers, it also provides 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 to track the shipments and returns 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. Keeping track of returns 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 returns. 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 to 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 to track the shipment 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 sellers who track eCommerce returns have up to 8% increased profit margins than the ones who don’t.
Track Returns 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.
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 provide 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.
Keeping track of your shipment and returns is one 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 process and data capture, sellers can succeed in multi-channel sales. Start tracking shipments and returns now and do share the after an experience with us over email.
To know more about multi-channel selling read here.
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