From rejection to reward: the not-so-hidden opportunity in online product returns for retail brands
Think about it: the journey of an online product return begins with rejection. That item that the shopper purchased from your brand has now been relegated to the status of “unwanted”. It doesn’t matter why, those are just the facts. From the moment that the shopper makes that decision, they go very quickly into an active mode of disposing of the item with an aim to get a refund. The more painful the process, the less likely the shopper is to make a return purchase. The more they have to deal with shipping labels, packaging, return spots and couriers the more they are discouraged.
The rejection of the return, echoes across the supply chain and is greeted with discontent back in the online store and its respective warehouses. It doesn’t matter who returns what, why and where: it is always a hassle. The time, money and resources required to handle these returns are a formidable obstacle to the financial wellbeing of these businesses. So much so, that many online product returns face the ultimate rejection and are sent to the trash. Millions of new, unused branded items find their way to a sad and gloomy end. It’s a bitter state of affairs.
Online product returns have a really bad wrap. With the likelihood of rejection very high, they are perceived as threats in the e-commerce world, whereas in reality they should be welcomed as real opportunities. The flip side of an objectionable returns process losing customers, is a seamless, convenient process, which can lead to future customer conversion and continued sales. If handled correctly online product returns represent an opportunity to interact actively and directly with the consumer. This in itself is gold. If the returns process is done well, your shopper can be converted to a loyal follower. A brand can single-handedly nurture the returns experience to their own benefit, by making it a positive experience for the shopper.
How can they achieve this? We’ve identified three main objectives.
Leveraging Return Spots
Telling the bigger story