How’s your Xmas gifts returns policy?
Online retailers are being urged not to make gift returns a nightmare this Christmas for customers. One of the most important ways an online retailer can make themselves more attractive to shoppers looking online for Christmas gifts this year is to provide a strong returns process to build trust and confidence with consumers. Mark Presnell, managing […]
Online retailers are being urged not to make gift returns a nightmare this Christmas for customers.
One of the most important ways an online retailer can make themselves more attractive to shoppers looking online for Christmas gifts this year is to provide a strong returns process to build trust and confidence with consumers.
Mark Presnell, managing director of eCommerce Integration Specialists Convergence, a company that integrates eCommerce sites with backend software and processes, said eCommerce is not only handicapped by the inability of shoppers to touch, smell, and try on a product, but also by fears around the returns process.
“For one, having to return an item is a pain for anybody, but the complexity of online returns only increases shopper reluctance. Retailers should try to make returns even more seamless than popping down to the local mall.
“I’ve personally had an issue where I had to go backwards and forwards over a period of three weeks to return a tablet because I was using an alternative email to the one I used to purchase the tablet; this threw the retailer into confusion. The reality is that customers make mistakes. Plan for them.”
Presnell urged retailers, particularly smaller businesses struggling to compete with local giants and overseas companies, to emulate the bricks and mortar experience as closely as possible to give themselves a competitive edge.
“For example, shirts or shoe sizes will vary because the cut of the clothing is different for most manufacturers. You can take five shirts into a changing room, even if you are only buying one. Retailers can do the same – try five, return the four you don’t want in a simple and seamless returns process.”
He offers the following advice to Kiwi retailers who want a less painless and more profitable festive season:
1. Don’t get tripped up by details
Presnell said frustrations around email addresses, for example, should never happen because it’s human nature to have more than one email address. “If somebody is returning goods, all they should require is a purchase number, not names, telephone number, email and street address etc.
“Make sure the details you require are necessary. The rest is just fluff that inhibits the customer experience. Less pedantic, but smarter, is the way to go.”
2. Keep it seamless
Presnell advised online retailers to make the shopping experience and returns process as easy as possible because too many retailers make it unnecessarily hard to buy. “The costs for eCommerce are significantly smaller than bricks and mortar stores. Use some margin to reduce the steps in the returns process. This creates a point of difference you can use in your marketing.
“Even if somebody just doesn’t like a product, tell them they can return it because that removes the risk associated with not being able to touch and feel a product during the purchase process.”
3. Be deliberate with your returns infrastructure
Presnell said a returns form on the website, front and centre, is a good start because it can address any questions or need for documents with speed, efficiency, and simplicity. Have a good receipting process matched up with a return already authorised.
“Have clear, simple instructions to guide your customer through the returns process. Have the courier pick up the item from their home. It is good for the retailer as well because going backwards and forwards eats into the company’s profits.”
For more information, visit https://convergence.co.nz/