Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Returns and Cancellations

11/9/2022

Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Returns and Cancellations

The road to building a successful eCommerce store can be quite rocky — especially if you are just getting the hang of all that order fulfilment entails.

While there is no shortcut to manage your orders as you scale up, one aspect that you can constantly improve on is the accuracy with which you deliver orders. 

The journey of doing so starts with having a detailed and clear product page, and ends at delivering the order successfully to the customer. But there is one additional consideration that companies often miss taking into account — processing returns and cancellations.

If you have a highly efficient process for processing orders, you may not even have to deal with them that often. But it is always a good idea to be prepared with a definitive policy and process for managing eCommerce product returns and cancellations as they come. 

That said, let us now look at a detailed visual overview of all you need to know about eCommerce returns and cancellations.

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How Order Management Software Streamlines eCommerce Returns and Cancellations

When you are still a budding eCommerce store, you can easily manage all the returns, exchanges, and cancellations that come your way. However,  as you scale up and your customer base grows bigger, the situation can get out of hand quickly.

Whether you are a home-grown brand that went the eCommerce way to maximise your revenue, or a major online retailer dealing with international eCommerce returns — you will need a systematic way for management, sooner than later.

An order management software could be the tool to organise and manage the chaotic parts of your order fulfilment processes more seamlessly. Also, with automated processes, there will be less room for any errors or bottlenecks. 

Handling eCommerce returns and cancellations is no exception. 

Still, here are a few ways in which having an order management system or software can help you streamline your returns and cancellations.

Interdepartmental Synergy

If the complicated nature of your interdepartmental communication and coordination makes you wonder — what’s the best way to handle ecommerce returns? Then, having an order management software can potentially solve your problem.

This is true regardless of what type of model you choose — 3PL,  FBA or good old in-house order fulfilment department.

An eCommerce returns management software module will essentially centralise the communication, as well as documentation of your supply chain and order fulfilment processes at one place. The result? Every department will have the latest information on any returned or cancelled orders. 

So no more endless communication loops between your eCommerce return department and payment reconciliation departments. It is all there; accessible in just a few clicks.

Live Tracking Feature

We have all been there — relentlessly tracking our shipment to ensure that it is well on the way to the designated destination.

That is why order management software today — regardless of the brand — comes equipped with live tracking systems. Now, you can track whether an order pickup has actually successfully taken place, and where exactly it has reached in the eCommerce return process before bothering with refunds. 

You do not want to end up refunding your customer without actually receiving the product return, right?

What’s more, when your team has the most recent and real-time status of return and cancellation requests at their fingertips, you can proactively avoid potential delays.

Effective Inventory Management

Imagine a scenario wherein a customer ordered designer shoes from your website but they received a damaged product. Now, since they decide to give your website another chance and want to exchange it for a fresh pair instead. Simple enough, right?

Yes, but analyse the exact situation for a minute. The customer is already frustrated about receiving a defective product and having to go through a return process. So you accepted the exchange request and then realised that someone else has already purchased the last unit, so you have to inform the customer that the product they want is now unavailable.

Just in case you do not realise it, this is the ideal deal-breaker sort of situation. It is highly likely that the customer will never return to your website for another purchase.

What if you always had an updated overview of your inventory levels, even ‌when the customer registers an exchange request? It will give you an opportunity to proactively let them know that an exchange would not be possible so they can either buy something else or you can refund the amount. 

Think about it — it is a win-win situation. You have a satisfied customer on the other hand, with one less situation requiring damage control. This is exactly what you can accomplish when you rely on an order management system.

Integration of Marketplaces

While processing eCommerce product returns and cancellations is never a simple task, it gets even more complex if you are dealing with multiple marketplaces. 

Do not get us wrong — omni-channel eCommerce is indeed the future, and you are doing the right thing by diversifying your bets. But you need to be prepared for the extra management that comes with doing so.

An order management system can help you get an overview of all your marketplaces from a single dashboard. So, managing stock levels across your various storefronts, and managing additional processes, such as returns, exchanges and cancellations, can happen as fast as you can think about it.

Wrapping Up

It is never easy to deliver accurate solutions every time for your customers, regardless of how great of an eCommerce store you may have. Handling eCommerce returns and cancellations for your customers can understandably get daunting when you have a growing eCommerce store. Having a clear and easily accessible return and cancellation policy on your website can be quite helpful, however, it is only a start. 

Apart from this, optimising your inventory, ramping up quality checks, and ensuring timely and clear communication can also reduce such instances. Do not hesitate in taking help from an expert order fulfilment solution, who can deliver your orders with more accuracy and efficiency.

 

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