Turning Returns into a Competitive Edge

How to turn returns from a customer pain point into a competitive edge for your eCom. Izabel Östgren, COO at NoA Ignite, shares her best advice.

Returns can be frustrating for brands and consumers alike. But what if we told you that returns can actually benefit your business in more ways than one? If gotten right, customer returns can be a valuable source of insights with the potential to increase both loyalty and profitability.

To shed more light on the topic and how to transform returns from a customer pain point into a growth opportunity, we asked our COO, Izabel Östgren, to share some guidance. Here are her three tips that will simplify future purchase decisions and increase customer lifetime value all in one go:

1. Help the customer choose the right product from the start

One of the most common reasons why a customer returns a product is that it simply doesn't match expectations. For example, it could be the wrong size, or the look and feel do not resemble what is depicted in the images online. Rather than trying to right a wrong every time the damage has already been done, look at the earlier stages of the customer journey instead to help the customer make the right product choice from the get-go. Qualitative images, detailed product descriptions, and relatable reviews will help avoid unnecessary returns. And don't forget to measure the return flow, or it will be hard to decipher which initiatives have an effect.

2. Don't forget about the customers who do not issue any returns

If the customer is happy, then all is good. However, studies have found that nearly half of Swedish consumers skip sending unwanted goods back to the retailer because the return process is too tedious. Thus, a customer not returning a product can be a sign of dissatisfaction, and a dissatisfied customer is unlikely to return. By the same logic, a customer who returns regularly can be a profitable customer.

Customers who return more often tend to be more loyal. Nonetheless, you don't want customers who, on a regular basis, place orders, try it on, and then send everything back on repeat. That's why it is important to customize your return policy according to your different customer segments to get a more clear picture of different patterns and how to adjust accordingly.

3. Leverage returns to gain better customer insights

Returns are more than merely logistics. If you want to understand your customers and what they think of your products, then returns can provide the insights you require to become even better at meeting their needs. Thus, everyone within an organization should be keen on perfecting the returns process to build better customer ties.

If you can create a shopping experience that inspires the customer to make valuable purchases, and combine this with the right returns management, you can build customer satisfaction and loyalty. Neglecting to do so will result in a huge strain on the environment, not to forget the relationship between customer and brand.

Looking to strengthen your returns strategy and boost brand experience?
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