Minimise the pain caused by a consumer friendly return policy

A strong, consumer friendly returns policy is an effective way of ensuring and increasing sales through your website. Many retailers know this and will refund for returned items, even if it may cause a loss for the business. Recent research from Barclaycard, who surveyed over 2,000 people, confirms this.

Over 30% of respondents confirmed that being charged for returns would stop them buying from a retailer, almost 50% said the same if they received a credit note rather than a refund and 40% said they want long return windows.

So, with this in mind, how does a company reduce the burden and cost caused by a large volume of returns? Especially with Christmas coming up.

There are four main aspects to consider, all of which can be solved by implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) into your business.

1) Ensure quick refunds to customers

Your consumer friendly return policy isn’t going to hold much sway with customers if they do not get their refund quickly.

In many warehouses you’ll see a huge pile of returns, left to be dealt with by the customer services team. It piles up because it is time consuming to deal with and unearth the reason for each return, making refunds slow.

A WMS allows you to include barcodes in the returns documentation that relate to the sales order. Quickly scanning the return slip means your Customer Services team can report on returns quickly and easily, processing refunds as regularly and quickly as you wish.

2) Get suitable products back on sale quickly

Having a product returned means losing a sale. But, if the product is undamaged, getting it back online immediately means it can be resold.

As with refunds, barcode scanning of the return slip allows you to get the product back into your system quickly. With the benefit of a WMS your team can return the product to a suitable storage location quickly and efficiently - in addition, it will track that location to allow for quick picking when it is ordered again.

3) Keep damaged returns in quarantine

If a product is returned with damage, the last thing you want is for that product to be incorrectly returned for sale. That would be a bad experience for a customer.

To avoid this, the Peoplevox WMS has the concept of live and quarantined locations. When the return comes in and is scanned as damaged, the system ensures a quarantined location is set for the product. Anything quarantined will not be returned to the e-commerce platform.

4) Learn from returns data

The final core benefit of a WMS implementation is that your returns information comes full circle. The WMS will allow you to run reporting against returns based on a variety of information, such as product type, name, size, return reason etc.

This reporting allows you to understand trends in returns, offering the opportunity to discover ways to reduce them. For example, if you see own brand products consistently returned for poor fit, you could look into sizing of products and find where improvements can be made.


So, in summary, we would say that a consumer friendly returns policy is definitely the right idea. However, if it is something you are going to offer, it is important to ensure you minimise the impact of it across the rest of the business