Product return has always been a problem for retailers. In the online sales context, this problem is a lot more complicated, as there is a time gap between shipping the product out and processing a return if need be.
From a consumer standpoint, they haven’t had a chance to experience the product before buying it, so product returns are justified as well. Sizes may not fit, products may be too big or too small for their usage or they may just not meet the customer’s expectations.
Online marketplaces like Amazon have resolved several such issues and have even modified the online returns policy. Although some of these policies are harsh on the sellers, there is an upside too- returned products can tell you a lot about your business.
In fact, if there’s one lesson to learn from a return, it is about managing inventory more efficiently. Right from the time, the product arrives at your warehouse, and until it reaches your consumer, it is your responsibility. We recommend that you take a look at this guide on inventory management before getting started on understanding returns.
Some facts and numbers on refurbishment
A majority of the sellers in the refurbished goods space fall under the CDIT(Consumer Durable Information Technology) norms. It is predicted that in 2016, consumers will trade in approximately 120 million used smartphones making more than $17 billion dollars for their brands The growth rate of used smartphones is about 4 times that of the overall smartphone market.
There are 3 types of products that are sold under the refurbished category:
- When the product has been returned without being used or was unboxed
- When the product is returned due to minor damages caused during shipment, or
- When the customer returns it within 15-30 days due to ‘customer remorse’
22% of online returns happen because the product looks considerably different from what it looked like online. 23% of online returns happen because the customer received the wrong product.
What can we learn from product return?
Now, let’s find out how product returns can be used as good sources of information to help scale up the business.
Accurately pinpoint where you could have gone wrong
Mislabeling and misinformation happen a lot of times within your inventory. So, when you get to know the reason for the return of a particular product, you will be able to instantly rectify it.
For example: Are there errors in your product description, are any of your products wrongly labeled, is the box being delivered to the customer lacking any essential components, etc.
This resource of information should be constantly monitored to keep rectifying your mistakes and improve your online store in all aspects.
Use social media tools to get feedback
A customer who is not satisfied with your product will mostly use social media to comment about it. At this time, it is important that you take all the criticism in a positive way and convert all the negative comments to positive. Be active on all important social media channels like Facebook, Quora, Twitter, etc. and follow your customers’ take on your brand and products.
Use correct return codes
The customer may not have the patience to list out the reasons for returning your product. So, you need to list out, in detail, accurate return codes and use this information for the betterment of service.
Inspect the products returned and received
Check manually what went wrong with it and note down the respective flaw.
Returned products often tell the seller the flaws from his side, that might otherwise go unnoticed. But each time you receive a return, it is imperative for you to understand the reason of return and work on it to improve your service and win customer trust.
Primaseller provides a platform to have efficient management of inventory and orders for retailers. You will be able to integrate your multiple offline stores as well as online channels and run them from a single dedicated system.