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Returns management – why complaints can be a success factor for you

Returns management can be an efficient image-boosting tool when you take the right approach.
Image: © Pormezz / Adobe Stock
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Online retail returns are on the rise

Online retail is booming. Even now that stores are reopening after the pandemic, the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. When it comes to Internet and delivery services, sales are continuing to soar – but so are the returns rates as a result. A survey conducted by the digital association Bitkom found that 15 percent of products ordered online are now being sent back. That’s equivalent to one in seven packages! In the representative study, 44 percent of the surveyed online retailers also bemoaned that the number of returns has reached such a level that it’s putting a strain on their business.

Want to know how to impress customers when dealing with a complaint case? Then look no further than our checklist, which walks you through four success strategies for retaining customers that can be put straight into practice!

Reasons for returns

Why do returns happen? There are actually various reasons for sending products back. The market research institute Statista Research Department conducted a survey among consumers, the results of which provide a clear insight:

58.2% The product didn’t fit.

41.3% The product was faulty.

28.9% The product quality was not satisfactory.

26.4% The product didn’t match its description.

22.3% The features didn’t match the description.

21.2% The product was ordered by mistake.

7.1% A better offer was found.

4.2% The product was only ordered to see it in person.

2.4% The product was too complicated to use.

2.4% Other reasons

Returns management in online retail

It’s one thing when the clothes a customer has ordered don’t fit. After all, we all have different bodies and tastes. But when customers send a product back because it doesn’t match its description, online retailers should prick up their ears. The key is returns management. This is about taking a targeted approach to dealing with complaints – and above all making sure that returns don’t happen in the first place.

How to reduce your returns rate

There are many strategic factors that help reduce returns rates. According to a study published by the market research institute ibi research, detailed product descriptions and accurate product illustrations are especially effective for online retailers. That might sound trivial, but good product information will get you a long way. The same can be said for checking the quality of products before dispatching them as well as making sure that they are appropriately packaged to protect them during shipping.

Reading tip: if you want to learn more about strategies for preventing returns, finish up with our story “6 to dos: how retailers reduce their returns rate”.

Complaint management: no drama instead of more drama

Ideally, complaints shouldn’t come your way in the first place. But when customers do send things back, you need to show skill as a retailer. You should always stay professional when dealing with requests for returns. First of all, your customers have a right to send products back. Second, it damages your store’s image if you make the complaint process unnecessarily complicated.

You should actually think of complaints as an opportunity – a chance to show that you’re a professional, service-driven provider. With that in mind, you should be aware of four rather ingenious strategies for your returns management. Our checklist guides you through turning a frustrating complaint into an experience that wows your customers. As always, our community can download it for free. Are you ready?

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