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How To Make Your Customer Returns Process More Efficient

How To Make Your Customer Returns Process More Efficient

5 MIN READ

Dealing with customer returns is an inevitable part of retail. There are measures you can take to reduce returns, but you also need to know how to manage the returns you do get. In order to keep your costs down and give a great customer experience at the same time, you need to make your returns process more efficient. 

According to research by Barclaycard, 30% of shoppers deliberately order more items with the intent to return unwanted items. They found that this consumer behaviour for returning unwanted goods negatively affects 60% of retailers. 

Processing returns is a headache for retail businesses. While you can’t eliminate returns, you can create a more efficient returns process. Our following pointers will help you create more efficiencies and improve customer experience. 

Let’s look at how you can create a more efficient returns process for your business…

Have a clear returns policy in place 

 

Having a clear and concise returns policy will help customers understand what they need to do when returning items. You might think the best way to curb returns is to make it as inaccessible for people as possible; charges, postage, printing their own returns label etc. Stay away from tactics like this. Customers are more loyal and spend higher amounts on average with retailers that offer flexible, easy and free returns.

 

With a flexible and easy to understand returns policy, you’ll attract more sales and increase average order value. Less customer support will be needed for those wanting to query your returns because your policy will explain everything they need to know – saving you valuable time and resources. 

 

You’ll want to include important information on return options. What are the options for returning to stores if purchased online? Do you work with delivery providers to pick up items for return directly from customers? Answer these questions in your policy and create a more efficient returns process for customers to follow.

Efficiencies in your inventory management 

 

Good inventory management underpins an efficient returns process. Customer returns affect inventory systems from physical inventory, digital inventory and accounting systems which in turn impact your store and website. Handheld scanners help identify products and deal with them accordingly. Scanning barcodes results in fewer errors than keying in numbers by hand and will benefit your returns process greatly. 

 

With this technology, you get a real time view of your customer returns and inventory levels with a system and handhelds that work together. The ability to identify and reallocate stock into your store and warehouse is extremely beneficial for both you and the customer. The quicker you’re able to process the return, especially for those returning via post, the customer will receive their refund quicker and have a better experience. For you, it’s a shorter time scale to getting your product back into stock.

International returns 

 

If you sell internationally, you’ll already be aware of the number of things you have to think about and consider. Making your international returns as efficient as possible plays a key part in your internationalisation. 

 

Save money and time by reselling returned goods locally. If you sell overseas and a customer wants to return the item to you, it can be costly to you and the customer (depending on your returns policy). To overcome this, you can discuss returns management with third-party providers and warehousing abroad to hold and reship items from there to new customers, re-selling the item locally.

Organise your work areas 

 

Create well-organised workspaces for your team so they can process returns quickly and efficiently. Ensure your team is fully trained on how to handle returns from how to use handheld scanners and the systems powering your operation, to stock location and warehouse management. 

 

Make your returns policy available to all staff members – there’s nothing worse than conflicting information for customers. By knowing the policy inside out, your team can make the right decisions when it comes to processing returns efficiently, making the experience seamless for customers. 

Give a great customer experience

 

This brings us to giving your customers a great experience. The chances are they don’t want to be returning an item – they bought it for a reason. Use this opportunity to delight them and secure repeat business through an efficient returns process for your business. 

 

Get rid of any obstacles in your returns policy, give your customers plenty of options when it comes to how they can return items. This includes various channels like in-store, via the post, courier pick up or lockers – whilst offering free returns. Prompt communication with your customers throughout the returns process too with text updates at each step so they know what is happening at all times.

Managing returns fraud and misuse 

 

Unfortunately, there will be some people who misuse your returns policy. Returns fraud is a very real threat and can be a costly one for retailers to manage. It happens across brick and mortar, and eCommerce and can include things like returning stolen merchandise or falsifying receipts. There is also a growing trend of wardrobing, where customers wear fashion items and return the goods afterwards. This is really common in fast fashion. 

 

So, how can you curb this kind of consumer behaviour without tightening your policy up too much and still maintaining an efficient returns process? 

 

  • Train staff who will be processing returns, whether in-store or in warehouses, on what to look for in fraudulent returns. Put in place how this should be managed in accordance with your company policies. 

 

  • Always require proof of purchase, such as a receipt or shipping invoice, from customers returning items. 

 

  • Use anti-tamper tags that can be removed at home and not reattached. A lot of tags are easy to reattach after wearing, or hidden, whereas anti-tamper tags are typically more obviously positioned to prevent wardrobing. 

 

  • Consider implementing a restocking fee for high-value items like TVs or high-end fashions. Of course, this wouldn’t be applicable for damaged and faulty goods. 

 

  • Naturally, you don’t want to create too many roadblocks for genuine returns so make sure you cover all points like the above in your returns policy so people can see this information before purchasing. 
There is a lot to think about when it comes to improving the efficiency of your returns process, let alone managing this all across multiple systems. If you’re interested in finding out more about managing your entire retail operation through a single platform, get in touch with the Venditan team. 

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Charlotte McKee
20th February 2020

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16 Must-Have eCommerce App Features

16 Must-Have eCommerce App Features

7 MIN READ

More and more retailers are seeing the benefits of improving their mobile offering, whether that is through taking the initial steps of getting a mobile-responsive site or diving into the exciting world of app commerce. The impact of mobile shoppers habits’ are having on retail is undeniable. Retailers and eCommerce businesses who are keeping up with this trend are set to reap the rewards as mobile commerce grows. Improving your offering relies on implementing the best eCommerce app features. 

The number of people shopping on apps is growing. A report from last year found that people spent a huge 18 billion hours on eCommerce apps. That’s a lot of time for retailers to be focusing on targeting with an app of their own. 

 

Let’s take a look at 16 must-have eCommerce app features we’ve put together for you…

1. Easy sign-up process 

No one enjoys a lengthy sign-up process, especially on mobile. Too many fields to fill out make for a fiddly task. When dealing with app sign-ups, you need to make this process as easy to complete as possible for your users. If they already hold an account with you, app registration should be a simple login. If not, make this super easy with a variety of sign up ways like social media accounts, email addresses or one-time passcodes. Your app should then save their information for future visits and ensure a seamless return for shoppers.

2. Super-fast checkout 

Shopping on mobile is all about convenience and you should optimise your checkout process to accommodate quick and easy transactions for your app users. Apps integrate well with Apple Pay and Google Pay, biometric payments and 1-click checkouts,  including securely saving card details to their accounts, so you can create a really efficient checkout process for your customers.

3. Sending push notifications 

Alert your customers to new products, let them know when wanted items are back in stock, host flash sales and personalised marketing campaigns amongst many other things with push notifications. These simple, but really effective nudges are a great way for your brand to communicate with your customers in a more direct way than email marketing. Ask customers if they’re happy to be kept up to date with these at registration, they’ll be more likely to accept without the need to input an email address here, too.

4. Offline functionality 

Offline availability for eCommerce apps is an effective way to boost customer experience and increase sales. Great for people who may not always have access to the internet, like commuters who may want to browse on the way home but suffer signal interruptions. Even if they’re unable to actively purchase while offline, it’s easy to save items for later and return to buy them in just a few short steps.

5. Allow reviews of your app 

Track feedback with customer reviews of your app’s performance. This will help you make improvements and track user experience. Not just this, but reviews are a fantastic marketing tool. You already know how great they are for your product, but they’re also important for your app. Great reviews will ultimately encourage more downloads.

7. Customer wishlists 

Wishlists are an essential element and an incredibly popular feature of eCommerce websites. They allow users to save items for later while browsing and compare items before buying. A wishlist also compliments offline functionality perfectly so users can bookmark items for purchasing later when they have internet access.

8. Effortless log in 

As well as a super easy login, returning users should be able to log in effortlessly. Options like social media platform login should be offered, as well as a simple process to reset or retrieve passwords and usernames they may have forgotten. 

9. A selection of payment options 

The eCommerce payments ecosystem is an incredibly diverse place right now and people are favouring different payment methods. It’s no longer good enough to just offer credit and debit card payment options. With app and mobile especially, digital payments are key – Apple Pay and Google Pay, PayPal all make for quick and convenient payment experiences for mobile users. Be sure to use a payment provider that can support multiple currencies and international payments.

10. In-store features 

Mobile has been shown to support the in-store experience, so your app should work to facilitate this and give those shoppers a unique and excellent customer experience. Think about implementing things like barcode search, as mentioned above, that can assist in-store shoppers by simply scanning a product to find out more about the product. 

Other in-store features for your eCommerce app can include the ability to check stock in local stores, or sending push notifications when users get within a certain range of your store so you can target them with local and personalised offers.

11. Detailed product information 

You might think that long product descriptions on mobile aren’t particularly conducive to a small screen, but on the contrary, a small screen is exactly why you need more detailed product descriptions. On a mobile screen, the view of the product can suffer, so providing more detail will help give customers a more informed view of the item before purchasing. This will help reduce returns and potentially unhappy customers. 

You should also be sure to provide as many images of the products on these pages as possible. Think about different angles, 360-degree photos and video.

12. Able to review orders 

Just like on your website, you should enable customers to access and leave reviews for products on your app too. Customer reviews are a driving force for eCommerce and benefit you in terms of providing more information about products, too. 

13. Managing orders and returns 

The main goal for an eCommerce app is to make the customer experience as seamless and efficient as possible. Being able to manage their order through the app with things like delivery and returns tracking, the customer will feel more in control and engaged with the buying process.  If a customer needs to return an item to you, having returns tracking on your app will help this process go much smoother. This also helps reduce customer support issues in this area.

14. Personalised user experience 

Retailers and eCommerce businesses everywhere are competing to offer enhanced personalisation right now. Apps are a great way to do this as you can use things like user data, account settings and their device features to craft personalised marketing campaigns and product recommendations. With an app, your customers can access their recommended products with just a quick tap – leading to more conversions.

15. Loyalty and membership options 

Once a customer has downloaded your app, there is a good chance, they’ll now be a repeat customer due to the convenience of the app being on their phone. But, you can foster this relationship even more by offering personalised loyalty and membership rewards for your app users. This will entice new users and keep those you already have shopping with you in the future.

16. Customer service support 

There’s nothing quite as frustrating for shoppers if you’re hard to reach and they need help with something. Whether that is a pre-purchase query, an order update or even a complaint. Many apps are now using in-app chat for customer service support, which is a really quick and easy way to engage with customers. If that’s not on your radar, make phone numbers and email contact forms really easy to access should your customers need that extra bit of support when buying from you.

Final thoughts 

When it comes to choosing which features you’d like your new eCommerce app to have, make sure they align with your business goals. Reflect on what it is you want to achieve with your app, and how these features can support achieving those goals. You may even want to consider prioritising them and rolling out in different phases of development. Remember – it’s not always about having the latest and flashiest tech, but what’s best for your customers. 

 

If you’re thinking of an app to complement your eCommerce offering, and you want to grow your business, we’d love to help with your app project

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Charlotte McKee
18th February 2020

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10 Brilliant Push Notification Ideas For Your eCommerce App

10 Brilliant Push Notification Ideas For Your eCommerce App

3 MIN READ

If you’re venturing into the exciting world of app commerce, you’re going to want to be clued up on push notifications and how to efficiently use them as a part of your eCommerce strategy. They’re a great way to support marketing campaigns and the customer journey with your business. An eMarketer report has found that eCommerce apps using push notifications to boost opens saw 278% more app launches than those not using this method. So let’s take a look at some push notification ideas you can implement for your eCommerce app. 

What is a push notification? 

Push notifications are short messages that can be sent on mobile devices to users who have your app. They can be sent regardless of whether the user has the app open and are a really effective way of communicating with your customers.

App permissions 

When a customer signs up to your app, make sure you ask if they’re happy to receive updates in order to activate push notifications. The chances are, they’ll be more obliging to receive notifications like this rather than putting their email address in – it’s a really simple opt-in or opt-out setting they can control at any time.

Push notification ideas you can implement

 

  • Stock alerts: Enable your customers to sign up for stock alerts on items that are temporarily out of stock. This is also a good idea to implement for items that are kept on your customer’s wishlists. 

 

  • Instore/near store location: Alert your app users to special offers when they are near your stores using location settings on their device. This is a great way to drive foot traffic if you operate a store as well as an eCommerce presence.  

 

  • Order and delivery updates: People like to be kept up to date when it comes to what is happening with their order. Use push notifications to let them know how the order is being processed when it is with couriers, and out for delivery. 

 

  • Flash sales: Create a sense of urgency to drive traffic to your app with a flash sale, or limited time offer. Let your app users know this is happening with a push notification. Customers are more likely to get this notification in time to access a flash sale and make the most of the offer rather than via an email marketing campaign as not everyone checks their email as regularly as their phone. 

 

  • Personalised offers: Use push notifications to notify your app users of special personalised offers unique to them. Make them feel super special with promotions like money off for their birthday or sign-up anniversary offers. 

 

  • New lines and products added: Let your customers know when you have new lines or products going live. The exclusivity of checking out something new is bound to drive app opens. 

 

  • Abandoned cart reminders: You should see a lower abandonment rate for your shopping carts on an app than desktop thanks to a more seamless experience. For those who don’t check out, they can easily be promoted with a friendly push notification reminder. 

 

  • Price drop alerts: Prompt users to purchase by keeping them in the know when it comes to price fluctuations. Send them an alert when items on their wishlist items or recently viewed items are reduced.  

 

  • Reminders for inactive users: Sometimes, your customers may just need a little nudge. If you’ve not had a visit from a user for a while, you can look to sending a push notification with a reminder and offer code to entice them back. 

 

  • Weather-based offers: The weather, especially here in the UK is extremely unpredictable. The crazy weather we have is always a hot topic so take full advantage of big weather events to boost sales of seasonal products. 

Hopefully, these push notification ideas are a great starting point for you wanting to make the most of them for your eCommerce app! Can you think of any more ways to use them? Let us know in the comments below! 

If you’re looking to grow your eCommerce business with a brilliant new app, we can help. 

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Charlotte McKee
13th February 2020

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How To Delight Your Customers With Memorable Unboxing Experiences

How To Delight Your Customers With Memorable Unboxing Experiences

5 MIN READ

More people than ever before are looking for memorable unboxing experiences when shopping. The need to provide an amazing customer experience doesn’t end at the checkout. A beautifully packaged and thoughtfully curated display for your products will delight customers, boosting marketing efforts, increasing customer loyalty and brand awareness. 

Packaging is no longer just for shipping purposes. 

Why is an unboxing experience important? 

For eCommerce businesses, you need to make the most of physical touchpoints when you can. So many of your interactions with online customers take place in the digital world until they receive their order. This is your chance to shine through well crafted, on-brand and memorable packaging! It’s especially important for new customers by making a lasting impression and making them want to shop with you again. 

Beautiful, branded packaging is a really understated part of your marketing and effectively helps with customer loyalty and retention, brand awareness, recommendations and social sharing (people love to take pictures and share with the world on social media!) It also contributes to the buying process and can influence buying decisions. 

So, if you’re wanting to get creative with your packaging, let’s have a look at some of the ways you can delight your customers with memorable unboxing experiences… 

Branded packaging options  

Is your current packaging branded? Is it creating memorable unboxing experiences for your customers? If not, you might want to rethink your approach. According to a survey by Dotcom Distribution, a third of shoppers find branded packaging impacts their perception of a retailer. 

The basics are really simple to implement and you may want to consider branded shipping boxes, branded tape and tissue paper for packaging. To create a more personalised shopping experience, include thank you notes addressing them directly, which will make them feel valued as a customer. 

 

Sustainable packaging 

With the rise of the eco-shopper, you’re going to want to consider more sustainable packaging. This means eliminating plastic waste where possible and opting for biodegradable materials, paper or card where you can. This is a great selling point too, and you have the flexibility to still make this your own with branded prints and designs. 

You can even look at creating packaging with repurposing in mind. Beautifully designed boxes are a good example of reusable packaging that the customer can repurpose as a gift or storage box. 

Recycling schemes are also a great idea. ASOS are rolling out reusable packaging this year, with a view to reaching 100% recycled materials in their plastic packaging by 2025. They also encourage customers to return packaging to them so they can recycle it.

Other things to keep in mind 

Investing in all this creative packaging sounds brilliant but for a lot of retailers, it comes down to their bottom line. That’s totally understandable – it can be quite a costly affair. However, if you do have the budget to make even the smallest steps to creating more memorable unboxing experiences, you’re bound to delight your customers. 

Tracking ROI on unboxing experiences is quite tricky, it’s not clear cut and there are many factors to consider. Think of other things to look at instead of tracking ROI and setting unmeasurable targets. Consider things like social media engagement, customer feedback and social mentions. 

Whilst lost in your creative pursuits, you also need to keep product safety at the fore. No matter how great your packaging looks, it still needs to do its job at getting the items to your customer in one piece. Neglecting suitable packaging can end with damaged products, higher returns and poor customer experience. Finding the balance between aesthetics and functionality here is key! 

Have you got any examples of how you create memorable unboxing experiences? Let us know in the comments! 

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Charlotte McKee
6th February 2020

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7 Simple Ways To Drive Traffic To Your eCommerce Store

7 Simple Ways To Drive Traffic To Your eCommerce Store

5 MIN READ

Consumers have more choice than ever before when it comes to where to shop. It can seem like an impossible task just getting noticed amongst all the noise out there. The thing is, you don’t need a huge budget or ad spend to attract more people to your eCommerce store. There are loads of ways you can increase your website traffic without it costing you a small fortune. 

Keep in mind, it’s not about driving just any old traffic to your website. It’s about driving the right traffic to your website. You’d rather have 100 relevant visits who are more likely to convert, than 10,000 irrelevant visitors to your website who will leave. What do the right visitors look like? They’re people who are interested in what you’re selling. People who want more information on your product or services. People who will sign up and purchase further down the funnel, or those looking to make a purchase right now. Sounds great, right. But, how do you go about attracting the right audience?  

Let’s take a look at some really simple, but effective ways you can drive traffic to your eCommerce store. 

1. Build a social media presence

 

Did you know that there are 45 million people in the UK alone who are active on social media? That’s a lot of people, and the chances are your target audience is among them. Building a social media presence today is super important for eCommerce companies. It can be a really effective means of driving traffic to your eCommerce store. Hiring a social media expert is a great investment (you can do this through a freelancer, agency or inhouse depending on budget). If you don’t have the means to do this, don’t worry – there are things you can do to ensure traffic is coming in from your social media channels. Consider things like: 

 

  • Posting regularly (new products, company updates, sharing relevant news, sharing your latest blogs). 
  • Implementing short videos (Instagram and Facebook stories) 
  • Link to your website from your social media bios 
  • Host giveaways and contests  (get your followers to share posts, tag friends and follow you for a chance to win something)  
  • Consider reaching out to influencers (If you do this make sure you look for natural partnerships with relevant influencers in your industry)

2. Focus on SEO 

Pretty much every internet search begins with Google. If you’re selling online you need to step up your SEO game in order to get noticed and reach more people. 90% of all internet searches via desktop take place on Google, with 35% of Google queries being product searches.  There’s a huge benefit for retailers to invest in their SEO offering. 

Similarly to social media, it’s great if you can get an expert in to help with this. However, you can still employ the basics yourself, such as:

  • Meta descriptions 
  • URLs 
  • Keyword research 
  • Landing pages 
  • Image alt tags 

In order to do this and gain more traffic to your eCommerce store through SEO, you’ll need to consider moving to an SEO-friendly eCommerce platform

 

3. Start blogging 

Having a blog on your website is also really great for SEO. Posting regular content can help boost your ranking in search engine results, driving more traffic to your site, but also shows your potential customers that you’re active. Consider writing about your product ranges, instore events, gift guides, seasonal buying guides, fashion edits, product use cases, etc. There are countless topics you can write about! 

A blog offers value to your website users, giving them extra information and building trust before buying. You might also want to explore guest blogging opportunities to expand your audience, whether that is collaborating with others on their websites, or letting people write for you.

5. Offer rewards and loyalty programmes 

Keep people coming to your website by building customer loyalty. You can do this by giving your customers incentives like receiving a reward each time they shop with you whether that’s points towards a future purchase or vouchers and money off. Consider refer a friend offers for your current customers too, this is a great way to drive more traffic to your eCommerce site and build your customer base. 

 

6. Use video 

Implementing video marketing is a great way to gain more traffic and is one of the most popular forms of content people are consuming online. You’ll need to decide what kind of video works for your brand. Consider things like; product videos that showcase your products, how-to demonstration videos, reviews and testimonials, or popular unboxing videos. If you’re thinking of implementing video as a way to drive traffic to your eCommerce store, this guide is a great starting point.

7. Think about mobile users 

The number of people shopping on their mobiles is rapidly increasing year on year.  Baymard has discovered that 30-50% of all eCommerce traffic is now from mobile devices. This means that retailers who aren’t offering a fantastic mobile experience are losing out on sales as people are wanting more seamless buying experiences. 

Google’s mobile-first indexing plays a part too; this means that Google index mobile sites before the desktop version. So, for new sites, you need to make sure your website is mobile responsive in order to rank higher.

Paying attention to driving more traffic to your eCommerce store is key to your online success. More traffic = more customers. Hopefully, this blog has gone some way in inspiring different ways you can drive traffic to your eCommerce site without the need for a huge budget. 

If you’re looking for a new, beautifully designed eCommerce website that converts, get in touch with the Venditan team today.

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Charlotte McKee
5th February 2020

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