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Online shop returns processing and customer follow up is crucial

Product returns and exchanges are a natural part of commercial operations. Nearly 90% of Finns say they prefer an online shop with a clear returns policy. That's why arranging returns solutions that are as simple and streamlined as possible is important for online shops. Maintaining good customer relations by means various kinds of follow up is important as well.

Customer Returns and Product Exchanges

Products are returned for a variety of reasons. The customer may have ordered a product of the wrong size or colour or may have had a change of mind. To offer a positive shopping experience for both the customer and you, returns have to be processed smoothly. This will increase customer loyalty to your online shop.

  • Make sure that your returns process is clear. According to E-Commerce in the Nordic Countries 2016, clear returns processes are more important to consumers than returns free of charge.
    • With a clear process, you'll avoid pointless misunderstandings.
    • Clarity will inspire customer confidence in your online shop, since there will be no room left for unhappy surprises or uncertainty.
  • Make returns simple.
    • Offer customers the option of printing the return label for themselves.
    • Give clear instructions for packing the product.
    • If it is not possible to offer customers returns free of charge, you can still make the returns process easy. In that case, you can tell customers about available solutions on your web pages so that they can take care of returns as economically as possible.
    • Various guides, detailed instructions and tutorial videos are also good ways of responding to questions about possible returns.
  • Use your returns service as a strategy for sales growth.
  • Aim for good product returns management.

Receiving Returns

You will incur costs from receiving returns. Furthermore, the returned products have to be inspected and stored again, and a refund has to be made to the customer. At the same time, returns have to be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible to maintain customer satisfaction. For product exchanges and cases of complaints, the process takes longer for the customer, since the substitute product will be delivered only after the returned product has been received and inspected.

Read our guide for more tips on returns management

Refunds and New Product Deliveries

The whole handling process varies, depending on whether the customer wishes to exchange the product or return it completely. If the product is being returned, the customer has to be refunded and the product has to be stored again. If the customer wishes to have a new product instead, you will process this as a new order in the normal way.

It is important for online shops to notify all refunds clearly; customers often call customer service inquiring when they can expect to see their money on their accounts.

Customer Follow Up

Customer follow up is an important part of marketing, and you have to attend to it regardless of whether your customers return products or not. After a product return, you have to notify the customer about having received it and provide information about the refund, if any, or the delivery date of a new product.

Continuous customer follow up identifies development areas related to the shopping experience. For example, it is worthwhile to send offers to customers who have returned their purchases, but haven't bought any new products. You can also simply thank these customers for their confidence and wish them pleasant shopping. Regardless of the way you carry it out, customer follow up will raise customer confidence while helping you to identify points for improvement related to the customer experience.

Read E-Commerce in the Nordic Countries for more about what Nordic customers find important in terms of returns