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Returns management and customer follow-up

Returns and exchanges are a natural part of a retail business, why it is important to have a simple and flexible return solution. It is also important to maintain a good relationship with your customers through various types of follow-up is vital in order to create loyalty.

Customer returns or exchanges items

Customers return items for various reasons. A customer may have ordered the wrong size, wrong color or quite simply changed their mind. To maintain a positive purchasing experience throughout the entire chain, returns should be managed flexibly – in relation to the customer and in relation to you as an e-retailer. This increases the likelihood that the customer will want to purchase items from you again.

Make sure you have a clear returns policy

  • Such a policy allows you to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
  • Clarity also inspires confidence in making purchases from your particular store because it can prevent surprises and uncertainty.

Make returns easy

  • Make it possible for customers to print out their own returns shipping note.
  • Describe clearly how the customer should pack their item.
  • If you are not able to offer free returns, the process can still be made flexible for the customer – preferably refer customers directly to your website to existing solutions for cost-effectively arranging for returns themselves.
  • Guides, step-by-step instructions and short videos are another effective way of answering any conceivable questions on returns management
  • Use returns as a strategy for increasing sales.
  • Try to control the flow of returns.

Receive returns

Receiving returns is costly. Returns need to be checked, returned to stock and the money repaid. Returns should be managed as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure customer satisfaction. The process of exchanges and refund claims is lengthy for the consumer because the replacement item is only sent when the return has been received and checked.

Make repayment or send new item

Depending on whether the customer wishes to exchange an item or return it completely, the process looks completely different. With a return the money must be repaid and the item be restored to the stock balance. If the customer wants a new item instead, this becomes a new order and is managed in the regular workflow.

As an e-retailer it is important to be transparent about any repayments; many customers call customer service and ask when their money will be transferred to their account.

Customer follow-up

Customer follow-up forms a key component of marketing efforts and should take place regardless of whether an item has been returned or not. After an item has been returned, you should let the customer know that you have received the item and provide information on any repayment or when a new item will be sent.

Continuous customer follow-up takes place in order to identify areas for improvement in the purchasing experience. You can aim offers at customers who have returned items but not purchased a new item, or quite simply thank them for their custom and wish them good luck with their purchase. Customer follow-up in some form can raise the level of customer loyalty while identifying improvement potential in the customer experience.