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Navigating the Holiday Return Rush

ecommerceHolidays 2020returns | November 26, 2020
Navigating the Holiday Return Rush - Notes from the C-Suite Desk - Replyco

In this edition of “Notes from the C-Suite Desk,” Jodi discusses how to plan your holiday return strategy, including common challenges and how to solve them.

Notes from the C-Suite Desk with CGO Jodi Gaines

It’s the end of the year, the busiest time in eCommerce. Off-season numbers for 2020 have already been breaking records and the holidays will likely follow that same upward trend with an expected jump of 35.8% (and an anticipated 34% increase from the same time last year). But more sales also mean an inevitable increase in returns, which are typically higher than retail — 25-30% for online shops compared to 8-10% for brick and mortar stores. 

Generally speaking, return season is mostly about reducing loss and preserving credibility so shoppers come back later. With that said, let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest challenges with returns, as well as ways to solve them.

Challenges with Returns… 

Some of the most common issues faced by online sellers when it comes to returns include:

Time

Handling lots of return requests takes a big chunk of your customer support team’s time.

Volume

Heavy return volume can result in difficulty managing all of the requests.

Fraud

Inevitably, eCommerce pros will at times have to deal with shoppers making fraudulent return requests / attempts.

Carrier Delays

Carrier delays can cause a myriad of difficulties by slowing down your return processing times.

Logistics

There can be several logistical or technical factors to address when processing a return, which means you need to have a strategic plan in place to tackle every aspect.

Ways to Solve… 

By taking just a few simple steps, you can prepare your team for these and any other challenges that might arise during return season. 

Plan Ahead

When possible, plan your return strategy before the busy season begins. By putting together a pre-emptive process for dealing with returns, you can get ready for the rush and even anticipate any issues that might arise ahead of time.

Set Clear Policies

Create clear, concise policies that your staff understands. This will keep your entire team on the same page and ensure they know how to address every return scenario. Your policies should include things like:

  • How to recognize and handle fraud.
  • Ways to manage carrier delays.
  • Return request communication protocols.
  • Steps for processing a return from start to finish.
  • Work / responsibility distribution so no individual team member gets too overloaded during heavy return volumes.

Offer Easy Solutions

When responding to a customer’s request for a return or refund, be sure to offer easy solutions or exchanges. By keeping the process as simple as possible for the customer, you can protect yourself from losing the sale altogether. This approach might even result in positive reviews and return business.

Use Easy-to-Print Return Labels

And finally, keep your returns process moving along by using easy-to-print return labels for speed and efficiency. When you’re handling several requests each week, this can save you loads of time and effort.

Replyco can help. In addition to integrating with eBay Returns and Refunds (which enables you to process eBay returns from directly within Replyco), we also display customer orders right next to return questions. Plus, you can upload and store shipping return labels for easy attachment to messages.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season. Please let us know if we can be of service!

Jodi Gaines CGO Replyco Helpdesk for eCommerce

About the author: Jodi Gaines

Jodi has been helping eCommerce sellers improve their communication and marketing strategies for more than 20 years. She currently serves as a Strategic Advisor for Replyco Helpdesk. Jodi was also the co-founder, CEO and editor at ReplyManager (sold to Xsellco in 2015) and has helped manage growth strategies for multiple businesses and start-ups, including eBay, VWERL and Stop Aging Now (The Clorox Company). Follow Jodi on LinkedIn.

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