Shopify Returns: How to Handle & Manage Returns on Shopify Stores
Returns and exchanges on Shopify are integral to your relationship with the customer. They provide a sense of credibility to your Shopify store and allow customers to experience the freedom to try and test products even after making a purchase, giving them the benefits of a retail experience in the comfort of their homes.
However, managing the returns/exchange process can be challenging for various reasons- the high cost of operations, the added burden on back end operations, and your customer service staff being the most apparent issues.
Before we dive deeper into these processes and the best practices, let's take a closer look at Shopify returns:
All About Shopify Basic Return Features
Processing returns is a complex task since the returns policy depends on the nature of the items- packaged food, clothing, electronic items, etc. Return policies also differ from store to store. Keeping this in mind, Shopify has created an elementary returns feature that allows you to
- Create a return for an order
- Refund an order
- Restock an order
- Mark the order as returned
- Review an order's transaction history
While these functionalities are sufficient in the early stages of your eCommerce business, as the business scales, handling every return request manually can be a daunting task. Here is where the Shopify features fall short-
- You cannot automate returns, which takes a toll on your customer service team, who must process each transaction manually.
- Shopify's returns process is not customizable and doesn't allow you to create separate policies for different products.
- It makes it challenging to manage returns. eCommerce business owners often rely on different apps and spreadsheets to track all their returns and exchanges.
- It does not allow you to collect data on your returns and analyze them to get a clearer picture of which products are returned often or how much the returns cost your Shopify store.
How to Reduce Shopify Returns - Best Practices
As mentioned above, returns and exchanges are integral to the eCommerce industry. They add a layer of convenience for the users and legitimize a business despite a bad experience. These play a pivotal role in creating strong bonds with the customer. However, with rampant returns fraud and the cost incurred due to returns processes, it is logical that businesses would want to reduce return rates as much as possible. Here are the best practices to reduce Shopify return rates:
- You can keep serial returners from abusing the system and create a returns policy that limits the number of returns.
- Ensure you train your customer service team to answer return requests from customers across all channels.
- Your returns policy should be crystal clear. Due to ambiguity, customer service teams go back and forth between decision-makers in the business and customers. Help them provide quick guidance by ensuring they never have to make decisions, implement the correct protocol for better returns management.
- Tweak your website and products according to return requests. If you have increasing incidents of sizing-related returns, give more accurate sizing recommendations on your website or add a related topic to your knowledge base to guide them better.
- Rely on carrier partners with a core return delivery and tracking competency.
Benefits of Handling Returns and Exchanges through Self-Service
Self-service has numerous benefits. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to provide customer service. What's even better? It's the preferred medium for 81% of shoppers who look for ways to solve their problems without contacting the support team. Self-service reduces friction in the returns process and has several advantages:
Related Read: Best Shopify Live Chat Apps 2023
Improves Post-Purchase Experience:
Ensuring repeat purchases is the only way to succeed in the competitive eCommerce industry. To scale, an eCommerce business has to create a bond with its customers that goes beyond a transaction purchase. A customer-friendly return policy and equally convenient returns can help create a better post-purchase experience, promoting higher repeat customers. Discover more on how to improve Ecommerce Customer Experience
Improves Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty:
A negative experience often triggers a return- either the product does not meet the customer's standards or it doesn't meet their requirements. Similarly, an exchange can be triggered by similar events- the customer received a damaged product, ordered the wrong size or color, etc. having an efficient return policy can help an online store turn a seemingly negative experience into a positive one, increasing customer loyalty in the process.
Improves Repeat Purchases:
To create a sense of connection between the customer and your brand, you need to encourage brand loyalty in your customers. With a clear returns policy and effective returns management, you can enhance your customer's post-purchase experience and increase the chances of repeat purchases.
How to Handle Returns on Shopify
Although Shopify returns functionalities fall short in some aspects, the best thing about Shopify is that it supports integrations with various returns management apps that can help you increase your bottom line profits and help you scale:
Best Shopify Returns Apps for Shopify
Returnly is a customer-centric post-purchase payment platform. They've created a unique customer experience by allowing customers to use return credit even before the return process is completed. With the added convenience, Returnly promotes higher customer satisfaction and customer experience.
- Automated Returns: this makes the return process frictionless and saves your agents' time.
- Instant Exchanges: Allows customers to receive store credit instantly, so they buy another product before the return process is completed.
- Tracking: a robust order and return tracking experience through real-time updates and SMS alerts.
- CSAT and Analytics: Captures customer feedback on return experiences efficiently.
- A customer-centric approach.
- The UI is Impressive.
Limited Integrations with other Shopify apps.
2. Loop Returns
Loop Returns is one of the best exchange-first returns management apps. Apart from managing customer returns, it encourages customers to find the right products for exchanges. It helps reduce returns' losses and leads to a higher lifetime value. Here are some of its key features:
- Provides bonus credits and lucrative shipping fees that encourage users to exchange products.
- It links with logistics to provide an overview of the returns process.
- Deep integrations allow customers to initiate returns without leaving the portal.
- Automatically approves or rejects requests based on your returns and exchange policy.
Deep Shopify Integration
Limited workflow automation
3. Aftership Returns Center
Aftership returns center is a shipment tracking solution. It aims to improve the post-purchase experience by soothing customers' anxiety and adding more transparency in the order delivery process.
- Automatically imports order tracking numbers from Shopify
- Allows you to insert a tracking link to your Shopify store's order confirmation page.
- Automatically generates a customizable tracking page for each shipment
- Allows you to set up automated alerts that notify customers about changes in order and return status
- Provides prepaid shipping labels that are certified by various carriers worldwide.
- Intuitive User-Interface
- Customizable APIs
- Unresponsive customer service
- Limited features in the free plan
4. Return Logic:
Return Logic is a returns management app that increases profit margins and retention by creating a seamless returns experience for your customers. It is ideal for businesses seeking returns management, printing return shipping labels, or automating the refund process. Here are some of its key features-
- Automatically process returns requested by customers.
- Analytics: this allows you to analyze how much your returns are costing.
- Shopify Integration: Allows you to manage all payments on Shopify itself.
- Deep integrations with other Shopify Apps
- Open APIs make it easy to customize integrations.
- Allows you to manage warranties as well
- Inability to offer a "bonus" for store credit.
- Limited options for "cause of return" when customers initiate a return
Returns and exchanges are an integral part of your Shopify store. They help build trust with new customers and establish a sense of loyalty. However, managing returns and exchanges can tax your team and burn a hole in your pocket. More effective processes and returns management apps can help navigate these problems and increase your bottom-line revenue. Looking for a hassle-free way to manage your returns and exchanges? Book a demo with Richpanel today!