Booming e-commerce has led to a significant increase in returns. Automating the returns process can streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve the customer experience. Here are some advantages retailers can have when they automate their returns process:
1. Cost savings
Automated systems can handle the entire returns process with minimal human intervention. This can help retailers save money on labor costs and increase the efficiency of the returns process. Automating returns can also help retailers save money on shipping costs, NRF reports that 84% of consumers will choose to return an item to a store instead of shipping it back to the retailer.
2. Build customer loyalty and satisfaction
While returns can be challenging for businesses, they can also present opportunities to build customer loyalty and satisfaction. Automating the returns process can improve the customer experience by making it easier for customers to return items. This can lead to higher customer satisfaction (NPS score) and increase customer loyalty. By handling returns quickly, efficiently, and with empathy, businesses can turn a negative experience into a positive one.
3. Boost sales
Retailers can increase confidence in their products by offering an automated return policy. This can lead to more sales, as customers are more likely to purchase from a retailer to whom they can quickly return items. When customers have a positive return experience, they are more likely to buy from that retailer again, which can help increase overall sales and customer loyalty.
4. Streamline operations
Returns can be a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, primarily when handled manually. However, retailers can streamline operations and reduce the time it takes to process returns, from receiving the returned item to issuing a refund or exchange. By automating communication through a centralised system, retailers can also streamline operations and ensure that all stakeholders are informed of the status of returns.
5. Competitive advantage in the market
Convenience and efficiency are critical aspects for customers. Automated returns processes can help retailers attract and retain customers and differentiate themselves from competitors who haven’t done that. “In the current market where conditions are not always the most favorable, standing out with innovative solutions, including those of return, are crucial for the success of a retailer,” commented Marten Freirik, Enterprise Account Executive of technology company Cleveron.
6. Improved data analysis
Automated systems provide valuable data on customer behaviour and product performance. Retailers can track return rates, reasons for returns, and the types of products that are most brought back. This data can be used to identify trends, improve product quality, and inform business decisions.
7. Saves time and space
From the retailer’s perspective, using a robotic or locker unit will not only take away the store employee’s active presence dealing one by one with the returns but also offer storage space for the parcels as the returned items need to be stored somewhere.
In conclusion, automating returns is a smart move for retailers. It not only streamlines the process for customers, but it also benefits the retailers themselves, as they will see improved customer loyalty, increased sales, and reduced costs in the long run and making it a worthwhile investment for them.