- September 23, 2020
- Posted by: Archi Bhardwaj
- Category: eCommerce Industry
There has been a significant drop in returns by ~10-30% depending on the category of goods post COVID. Returns in Tier II and beyond cities have decreased by 23% alone in the past year.
The best time for shopping is about to begin around the globe as festive seasons near, but for sellers, retailers and eCommerce businesses this time can be a little more overwhelming than the usual routine especially with the new normal in place and this being the first big sales season after the Coronavirus outbreak!
As per Statista 2018 reports, around 1.8 billion people purchased goods from eCommerce platforms which has only grown ever since. The e-commerce sector grew by 20% alone in India in the last one year.
With such increase in demands, higher returns become inevitable and can happen due on multiple aspects such as variations in the quality, size, fit, looks of a product and more, but at the same time, there are multiple ways to reduce returns and increase profits with the right assistance and support.
The new norms of social distancing, ease to shop online etc., customer satisfaction has been put on focus for eCommerce businesses and due to that there have been changes for the eCommerce market, the current trends on eCommerce returns from Unicommerce’s ‘eCommerce Trends Report’, suggest that there has been a significant drop in returns of ~10-30% depending on the category of goods post COVID.
Returns in Tier II and beyond cities have decreased by 23% alone in the past year. With shoppers having an almost real shopping experience as companies come up with several methods of online shopping, with the help of AI, virtual reality, try and buy, etc., more demands of goods can be seen, and this demand will only grow as soon as the festive seasons are around.
Counting down the Festive Days!
Right from August till December, there are a great number of holidays celebrated around the globe including Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas in the west with a lot of massive shopping sprees for shoppers such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Singles Day, etc
In India, the sale season also begins from August with the festivities taking off right from Rakshabandhan, Dussehra, Diwali and more extending till December, and this is the time when huge sales events happen such as Amazon’s Great Indian Sale, Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, etc.
Talking about the South East Asia region, along with big shopping days such as Singles’ Day, Cyber Monday, etc., there remains a trend to host shopping events on the days with parallel digits of each month, such as 9.9, 10.10, 11.11, and 12.12 and the biggest marketplaces such as Lazada, with Shopee and Zalora open pandoras of offers for the customers
All these various different sales in different parts of the world with offers going around marketplaces, brand websites, offline mediums, etc., shoppers have a lot of options to choose from and they expect the ones they select to be the best of all.
And this little expectation is the biggest reason for returns because no customer will find it a jolly thing to have to deal with wrong or faulty products delivered to them which they have plans to use during these festivities.
Wrong product size and difference in appearance from what is shown online are two of the most common causes of returns and if this happens during a peak season, it is a big red alert for eCommerce sellers, even leading up to huge losses!
But with a robust eCommerce returns management software by your side, all these major roadblocks in the journey of growth for your business can be assisted and help you simplify your eCommerce selling!
With this blog, you will be able to understand the effects of returns on the growth and unit economics of your business during the peak season, gather up insights on the reasons for returns, types of returns that happen in the eCommerce industry and finally find out the methods to handle returns with the use of an eCommerce returns software
Reasons for Returns & How to deal with it during Peak Season?
Returns are an unavoidable part of the eCommerce industry and no matter how good your products are, how much importance you give to delivering right on time you will still end up dealing with it every now and then.
While you can never actually put an end to this process, you can minimize the damage by looking out for major causes of returns and adapting the best practices to deal with it.
Returns are majorly categorised into two types – Customer Initiated Returns or CIR and Return to Origin or RTO.
CIR or customer-initiated returns happen when a product delivered to them is not as per their expectations. Reasons for product return include:
- Wrong dispatch of the product
- Delivery of damaged product
- Variation in the product delivered to that presented online
- Delayed delivery
- Poor Quality of product delivered
On the other hand, RTOs or return to origin happens when the delivery partners are unable to complete the delivery. Some of the reasons for product return that include:
- Wrong delivery address
- Fraudulent orders or CODs
- Issues with the time of delivery
- Manual errors or presence of wrong details
Sudden rush during the festive times, with the new norms of safety in place, can cause all these kinds of returns to any seller or brand but by analyzing issues for returns and handling it with the help of a right returns management software, you can maintain a smooth flow of operations.
Industry Best Practices For Returns Management
Not only the cause for returns but the cost of handling returns has also increased., due to various new safety measures in place. To avoid any transmission of the coronavirus, each returned item needs to be separated, sanitized and then stored in a very careful manner.
Along with that, increased logistics cost due to frequently changing serviceability and lower manpower availability has contributed to the overall pain sellers are going through in these times.
But with the right support, you can not only handle returns but also work around all the right ways to deal with the issues, correct them and move forward to boosting your sales and exponentially increasing your overall profits.
Some of the best methods to tackle the cause of returns include:
- Analysing the reasons for returns
- Examining Quality Checks Fails
- Inspecting Putaway & Shelf allocations
- Surveying poor-performing products & goods
- Monitoring refund policies & exchange processes
- Assessing refurbishing & reconciliation reports
- Enabling consumer analytics & personalizing customer experience
These are some sure shot methods to manage returns and are the key deliverables of a good returns management system, making it easy for you to focus on growth and not worry about anything else.
eCommerce returns management software is no longer an option but a necessity especially when you are looking at a competitive festive sales season ahead and so you need to have an accurate perception of what things to look for in a returns management system before you onboard one.
Characteristics of a Robust Return Management System
Seeing the utmost need to tackle returns, e-commerce companies are leveraging technology to improve their deliveries, enhance customer experience and most of all control the percentage of returns.
Onboarding a good returns management system has resulted in a significant reduction of ~23% in overall returns, especially in Tier-II and beyond cities.
If you wish to have such numbers for your returns management, grow your business and work with the highest efficiency to achieve more sales, you need to look out for some specific features that set apart a good eCommerce returns management system than all others.
The biggest separators of the perfect returns management solution in supply chain include:
Complete Automation of Processes
Fastens the entire operations, eliminates the dependency on manpower and reduces errors caused by manual efforts.
Effective Outbound Methods
Reduces the number of returns via better cataloguing, barcoding & outbound quality check.
Precise Return Analytics
Identifies return reasons & patterns to control the frequency of returns in the long run.
Seamless Experience for Sellers
Automatically allocates best-fit partners as per cost restrictions, business size, return rates and more.
Effortless Quality Checks
Enables quality checks based on various factors, segregation of QC fail items, standardisation of QC reasons and more.
Real-Time Dashboard & Reports
Provides advanced reports and data on return reasons and maintains records of day to day operations.
Smooth Returns Reconciliation (Payment & Inventory)
Allows deep insights on penalty, levied charges, return shipping costs, product cost etc.
The above mentioned attributes are the basic need for any business to increase their sales and effectively reduce the percentage of returns during the process, but only a few returns management systems or softwares are capable of providing all these solutions right from a single platform.
Here is a video which identifies these areas and gives you a fair understanding of what steps are to be taken in order to minimize returns and increase profits: https://bit.ly/3bWA574
Unicommerce is one such platform which has been the first choice of over 10,000+ eCommerce businesses to tackle their returns and gain higher sales.
With an active presence in India, Middle East & South East Asia, Unicommerce has been able to help businesses achieve up to 20% decrease in their overall returns while being able to increase sales by up to 30%.
One of our clients, a leading fashion brand has experienced similar growth and seamless management of their returns here is a case study highlighting the solutions provided by Unicommerce to the brand in helping them achieve exponential growth and reduce returns significantly: https://unicommerce.com/cases/case-study-leading-fashion-brand/
Unicommerce Returns Management Features:
- Auto courier allocation and tracking
- Automatic creation of Reverse pickup for all Returns
- Support for RTO, CIR, and Returnable Gatepass
- Alternate SKU creation for Replacement Orders
- Exchange and Return Order simultaneously during delivery
- Advanced Returns Dashboards and reports
The uniquely designed and ever-evolving returns management system of Unicommerce works on the feedback and business-specific requirements of all the active clients, provides CRM integrations and an elaborate workflow right from creation to courier allocation, inbound, quality checks, smart segregation and much more.
Benefits of Unicommerce’s Return Management System:
- Cost reduction by preventing unreasonable returns
- Inventory accuracy by image-based quality checks
- Reports for elaborated analysis and reconciliation
- Visibility for returns from all channels in a single system
- Reduced time of processing online returns
So what are you waiting for? Check out our services today and empower your business to deliver quality services to all your customers this festive season.