How can e-commerce sellers minimise the impact of order returns and cancellations?
E-commerce businesses are increasingly looking to maximise the interconnectedness and efficiency of their backend processes for multi-channel order management. However, this is a complex process that requires considerable effort to be executed efficiently and accurately. Order returns and cancellations can significantly affect this process, especially when done manually or with outdated systems since it requires additional resources and real-time visibility into data such as order and inventory information, payments, and customer data such as past orders and addresses. Additionally, order returns and cancellations impact customer experience, brand perception, vendor relationships, and revenue generation within e-commerce businesses. In this blog, we look at some key steps brands can take to drive seamless customer experiences that minimise the impact of, and help them, order returns and cancellations better.
The importance of positive customer experiences
E-commerce has made shopping more convenient than ever before, but it also comes with its own set of challenges, one of which is dealing with order returns and cancellations. These can be costly for e-commerce brands in terms of both financial losses and damage to customer relationships. However, there are steps that e-commerce brands and online resellers can take to minimise the impact of order returns and cancellations. These include:
- Offering detailed product descriptions and images: One of the most common reasons for order returns is that the customer received a product that did not match their expectations or the description given on the product page. By providing detailed and transparent product descriptions and high-quality images, e-commerce brands can help customers make more informed purchasing decisions and reduce the number of returns.
- Providing clear return and cancellation policies: Customers appreciate transparency and clear communication when it comes to returns and cancellations. By providing clear and easy-to-find information about their policies, e-commerce brands can reduce confusion and dissatisfaction among customers.
- Making the return process easy and hassle-free: The easier it is for customers to return a product, the more likely they are to come back and buy another product from the same online store. E-commerce brands can make the process easy by providing pre-paid shipping labels, offering a variety of return options such as store credit or exchanges, and by processing returns quickly and efficiently.
- Communicating frequently with customers: Communication is key in dealing with order returns and cancellations. By reaching out to customers who have returned or cancelled an order, e-commerce brands can gain valuable insights into what went wrong and how they can improve.
- Offering incentives: To encourage customers to keep their orders and reduce the number of returns and cancellations, e-commerce brands can consider offering incentives such as discounts or free shipping.
- Using data and analytics: By analysing data on returns and cancellations, e-commerce brands can identify patterns and trends that can help them improve their products, services, and processes.
- Implementing a strict quality control process: By implementing a quality control process, e-commerce brands can minimise the number of defective or incorrect products that are shipped to customers, reducing the number of returns and cancellations.
- Offering a flexible return window: By offering a flexible return window, e-commerce brands can accommodate the needs of their customers, which can help reduce the number of returns and cancellations.
- Providing personalised customer service: Personalised customer service can help e-commerce brands address the individual concerns and issues of their customers, which can help improve customer satisfaction and reduce the number of returns and cancellations.
- Using an integrated inventory and order management system: The ability to access different data such as inventory, orders, and returns/cancellation data, on one unified platform allows for real-time tracking of inventory levels and quick updates to order information and customer records based on returns and cancellations. Additionally, such a system can provide insights and analytics on returns and cancellations, such as identifying patterns, or finding out which products are more likely to be returned.
These practices can help e-commerce sellers manage order returns and cancellations better to ensure positive customer experiences in their e-commerce stores. It’s important to keep in mind that returns and cancellations are a part of doing business, and by handling them in a professional and customer-centric manner, e-commerce brands can build trust and loyalty with their customers.
The need for an effective backend order management system (OMS)
For any e-commerce business, there’s no doubt that returns and cancellations can have a significant impact on overheads and the bottom line. Efficient backend processes for e-commerce order management are essential to ensure customers have a smooth experience buying from your website or app. To maximise ROI from your efforts and minimise this impact, it’s more prudent to use a fully digital order management system (OMS) that automates processes across the order lifecycle. This will free up your employees’ time to focus on other tasks rather than constantly chasing orders. Moreover, such a digitised system will allow you to:
- Process orders faster, saving both time and money;
- Reduce the risk of errors and fraud by eliminating manual data entry and preventing errors such as double-booking or incorrect address data;
- And improve customer service by avoiding delays caused by a manual reconciliation of multiple systems.
An e-commerce order management system also helps streamline the entire process for both customers and sellers. It also provides e-commerce store owners with the tools needed to keep track of inventory, process returns, and provide personalised customer support. Finally, e-commerce brands should provide a fast and smooth checkout process for customers.
Using an e-commerce order management system can also help e-commerce brands minimise the impact of returns and cancellations by streamlining their customer experience. The system can track orders in real-time, alert customers when their orders have been shipped or delivered, offer detailed product descriptions and images, as well as provide automated notifications to ensure transparency and enhance customer service.
Analytics tools within such systems can identify patterns in returns and cancellations in order to optimise the customer experience. Ultimately, e-commerce brands should focus on using strategies that prioritise creating positive customer experiences while minimising the associated costs of order returns and cancellations. Through a combination of quality control measures, proactive communication with customers, clear return policies, and an efficient e-commerce order management system, brands can minimise the impact of order returns and cancellations.
Choosing the right e-commerce management solution
To leverage the full capabilities of automated order management, choose a solution that can handle multiple channels. Whether its web or mobile, chances are that you’ll need to manage orders across multiple channels at some point in time. Make sure the solution you choose has this capability built in so that it doesn’t limit your options unnecessarily as well as frees up more time for other important aspects of running a business, such as a customer service or marketing campaigns.
The solution you work with should also be able to handle multiple languages and currencies. This is especially important if you’re selling internationally because some countries prefer using different languages when buying goods online compared with others; for example, customers in East Asian and South East Asian countries prefer interacting with websites or applications that are in their native language.
Ordazzle is an automated platform that helps e-commerce and multi-channel retail businesses achieve their true potential. It synchronises with a multitude of marketplaces, web stores, and logistics providers to help smartly manage any size of e-commerce business.