How to make Christmas returns a feast for customers
Published on: December 24, 2021
Updated: August 29, 2023
How to make Christmas returns a feast for customersA lot is ordered online at Christmas – and a lot is returned. Operations experience management specialist parcelLab has compiled eight points on how to optimize the customer experience in the event of a return.
Munich, November 24, 2021 – Every year, Christmas is not only a celebration for online retailers, but also the wedding for returns. If Aunt Inge doesn’t like the scarf and granddaughter Helene has already received the riding Barbie for her birthday, customers have to return the ordered goods to the post office.
Of course, every return causes additional effort and costs for online retailers. But a study by IMRG also shows that 92 percent of customers who have had a good experience with returns will buy from that retailer again. In this respect, online retailers should view returns as a customer loyalty tool, invest in them and make it as easy and convenient as possible for their shoppers to return orders.
The following eight points will help improve the returns experience:
1. Comprehensive information makes you feel good about completing your order
Communicate your return policy openly and transparently! How long is your return period? Can customers return orders free of charge? Will the goods be picked up from home if requested? And by what method and how quickly will the prepaid invoice be credited back? Knowing this gives customers a good feeling when they place their order – regardless of whether they end up keeping the goods or not. 2. don’t assume that your customer has a printer.
2. Don’t assume your customer has a printer
The latest returns study by parcelLab clearly showed that fewer and fewer retailers are enclosing returns slips with their parcels, instead asking customers to register their returns in the webshop’s customer account. The catch: Not every customer has the option of printing out an online-generated shipping label themselves. However, many logistics providers already offer the option of generating a QR code for the return, which the customer then only has to show at the respective parcel store.
3. Ask proactively for returns
Many online retailers offer extended return periods over Christmas. Accordingly, goods – and thus capital of the retailer – remain with the customer for a long time. Encourage your customers to return unwanted gifts shortly after Christmas so that they can collect and resell products more quickly.
4. Learn from your customers’ return reasons
When customers register a return in the returns platform, they usually also provide a reason for the return. This can automatically trigger further steps. If the return would not be profitable for a retailer because the product value is too low, the customer can be offered to donate the product, for example. If a product has a defect, a discount can be automatically offered. And if an item of clothing is returned more often than average because the size does not fit, this could be a signal to revise the size specifications. In this way, the number of orders that are actually returned to the warehouse can be significantly reduced.
5. Engage customers with Instant Refunds on their account
Whoever returns a wrong gift often needs a replacement. Instant Refunds are an efficient way to motivate customers to repurchase from your store. This way, you have the value of the return immediately available for a new purchase and don’t have to wait until the retailer initiates the refund to the account or credit card.
6. Inform about the status quo of the return
Customers want to know when their return has arrived back at the retailer’s warehouse, whether all their products have been booked as returns and when they can expect a refund. In the best case scenario, retailers therefore send three emails: “We have received your return.” “We have credited the following products to your customer account” and “We have initiated the refund.” If you also add this information to the customer account in the web store, you provide customers with reasons to come back to the store and possibly make purchases there again.
7. Be personally reachable
Transactional emails often have a no-reply sender. This does not make a very polite impression on the recipient. He would like to have the opportunity to respond to a mail and contact the company – be it through a given support address, a chatbot or a fictitious character created for exactly this purpose. The naming of a personal service employee also gives the customer the feeling that his questions and problems are being taken seriously.
8. Think beyond returns
More and more brands are repairing their products in case of damage, having them refurbished, personalized or recycled. The circularity of products also creates new touchpoints to engage and delight customers.
parcelLab is the world’s leading operations experience management platform. parcelLab’s platform automatically transforms data generated at various points in the shipping process into personalized, branded messages, making parcel shipping a true customer experience. The company accompanies around three million shipments every day and sends out almost seven million proactive, personalized information messages in the process. The shipping data comes from more than 150 carriers worldwide, including DHL, FedEx and DPD.
Winner of the Supply Chain Award 2019, the scale-up was also named by the Financial Times as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe in 2020.
parcelLab has offices in Munich, London, Paris and New York and – for IKEA, Bose, Puma, Lidl and Nespresso, among others – transforms contact from order to return into a sustainably positive buying experience.