The holiday season is the most lucrative time of the year for retailers. However, the surge in sales also means a higher volume of product returns. Returns diminish your brand’s profit margin, present a logistical challenge, and have the potential to infuriate customers. However, returns can also be an unexpected revenue channel for your brand.
On December 18th, we sat down with ThirdLove and Loop to discuss how brands can turn this tricky touchpoint in the customer journey into a strategic advantage and boost their bottom lines.
Let’s dive in.
Returns as a Revenue Channel
We all strive to deliver products our customers love, but the reality is, not every item is a perfect fit.
Up to 40% of online purchases are returned for various reasons. Maybe the item wasn't the right size, the color was off, or there was a small defect. And yes, there are those customers who order several options intending to keep just one.
The good news is, returns are an opportunity for brands to convert shoppers into long-term, loyal customers. In fact, Loop's Consumer Survey reveals that 95% of shoppers are more likely to repurchase from a retailer if the returns experience is positive.
That’s where a customer-centric returns process comes in. A seamless process simplifies returns while adding value to the overall shopping experience, incentivizing shoppers to return and repurchase.
How To Transform Returns Into a Positive Experience
To turn a negative into a positive, your returns experience needs to be as seamless as possible. There are a few ways to achieve that:
- Offer free returns, with no restocking fees and (ideally) free shipping
- Provide a flexible time window of more than 30 days for returns, especially over the holidays when people are busy and/or traveling
- Allow customers to process their own returns via self-service, rather than waiting for a customer support agent
Hassle-free returns are key from a customer experience standpoint but you also need to consider the impact on your gross margins. Thankfully, it is possible to ensure returns are a positive experience that benefits both your customers and your brand's bottom line.
Strategies for Getting the Most Out of Your Holiday Returns
Here are some effective strategies to use returns as a lever for business growth:
Analyze Why Returns Happen
Understanding why customers return products is key. Daasity integrates with Loop to give you detailed insights into why an item was returned. You can dive into the return reasons, like size, quality, or mismatched expectations to inform your future product strategy and messaging, reducing the number of returns going forward.
Offer Bonus Credit
Encourage customers to choose store credit over a refund by offering them a little extra value. For example, giving an additional $5-10 in store credit can incentivize them to make another purchase, often at a higher value than the initial purchase.
Exchange and Upsell
Set up automated email sequences to promote exchanges over returns. When a customer initiates a return, view it as an opportunity to suggest alternative products or additional items that complement their original choice. For instance, if a customer is returning a pair of shoes for being too snug, recommend the same pair in a larger size.
Create Customer Profiles
You need to be able to identify and distinguish between high-value customers vs. those with frequent returns who are having a negative impact on your bottom line. Creating detailed customer profiles allows for more targeted marketing, so you can focus your efforts on customers worth retaining.
Leverage Data for Inventory Planning
Analyze return data to anticipate which goods are going to arrive back at the warehouse. These insights can guide your inventory strategy, helping to maintain a lean and more effective stock.
Leveraging Loop & Daasity for Returns
Daasity is a data platform that connects to all of your data sources and gives you out-of-the-box dashboards. It takes all of your fragmented data from Shopify, Amazon, Loop Returns, and more, giving you the insights to power smarter decision-making.
Daasity’s Loop dashboard provides an overview of how returns are affecting your business, including KPIs such as gross sales, refunds, credit issued, and more:
You can also drill down into the average return time and other related metrics to measure your efficiency around processing returns:
Daasity gives you a deep understanding of why and when returns happen. The dashboard shows you the most common return reasons, including a breakdown by different product types to help you spot issues like incorrect sizing:
The combined power of Daasity and Loop can help you turn returns into a revenue channel that drives loyalty and repeat sales for your brand.
Try Loop & Daasity Today
The holiday season's return rush, while challenging, presents a unique opportunity for brands to surprise and delight customers. By leveraging the integrated capabilities of Daasity and Loop, retailers can not only streamline their return processes but also turn these interactions into positive, brand-building experiences.
Want to learn more about how Daasity can help you optimize your returns process? Get in touch with our team today to request a personalized demo.