The holiday season is a time for shopping and gift giving – and the New Year is the time for…returns and product return management for retail businesses. Shoppers return goods all year of course, but the post-holiday weeks see an increase in items coming back to stores.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average return rate for 2022 is expected to come in at 16.5%* of all purchases – or $816 billion worth of goods. Over the Christmas season this increases to 17.9%**.
During the pandemic, online purchases had a higher return rate (20.8%)+ than those made in a brick and mortar store, but this year the playing field has levelled, and online and offline are generating the same level of returns.
Returns are here to stay
Returns are now a fact of life for many shoppers – they buy several items, expecting to return one or more. So much so, that retail returns management policy is an important factor in the shopper’s decision making – they are more likely to buy from a retailer that has a customer-friendly approach to bringing back unwanted goods. Over 60%++ of shoppers view a retail returns management policy before they make a purchasing decision and say that it influences where they shop.
Shoppers love retailers who offer free returns. But they are also looking for ease – and for the majority, that now means being able to return items to a brick and mortar store. In the past consumers wanted to mail back their return items, but now only 21%¶¶ prefer this method, with 54% favouring in-person retail returns management. they want a range of options too – including cash refund, store credit and replacement items.
Returns as an opportunity
Having to handle returns can certainly be a costly process but increasingly, retailers are seeing the opportunity that their retail customer returns management process offers, to:
The value of a returns management system
The right returns management system can make a very real difference to retail returns management – helping to provide insightful data, reduce time and costs, and improve customer service and loyalty.
An enterprise-grade retail management solution with multiple functionalities integrated into a single platform delivers the most effective returns management system. It will include:
Customers will always want to return purchases. A returns management system turns the process into an opportunity for increasing customer satisfaction.
What are the best practices to manage returns?
Best practice is to see returns management as an opportunity to enhance customer experience, and to make sure that your policy aligns with what your customers want. You need to understand whether your customers value free returns, or whether they will pay a fee. You’ll need to understand whether to offer mail in or in store returns, and whether to offer store credit or money back. It’s also essential best practice to be upfront about your policy, publicising it clearly and making it a differentiator and a reason to shop with you.
What is the role of POS software in retail store returns management?
The point of sale software – whether in the store or online – must be able to identify the goods, and process the customer’s refund, based on whether they paid full or a discounted price. It must make the customer-facing part of the process as rapid and smooth as possible, but also integrate all the updates in the back-end systems – financial records, loyalty program and inventory records.
Making the most of technology to deliver ESG in retail
In today’s world, there is a growing focus on sustainability in retail, and more and more companies incorporating sustainability [...]
The ever-changing world of retail management solutions
Retail Management Solution iVend offers a retail management solution for today’s world. Learn more about the best retail [...]
Untethered – how mobile POS transforms the checkout
The point of sale is the engine room of every store, where the transactional business of retail takes place. [...]