Ecommerce Returns Management Process: Best Practices8 min read

Returns are an integral part of every ecommerce business. 20% of all ecommerce orders are returned. And this number increased up to three-fold during times like the holiday season. 

However, they become a logistical nightmare and a cost center only when they get out of hand in the absence of a proper returns management system. 

Therefore, you need to put in your best efforts to manage returns and make them a growth driver for your business. But first, let’s get to the basics.

What is Ecommerce Returns Management?

Returns management is the process of ensuring a smooth returns experience for your customers. This covers the end-to-end of returns — from the moment the customer initiates to fulfilling a replacement if they had requested an exchange.  

Ecommerce returns management sits at the very center of reverse logistics, inventory management, and post-purchase customer experience. 

Proper returns management helps you boost your bottom line and create loyal customers for life. To help understand it better, let’s take a deeper look at the customer touchpoints in ecommerce returns.

Returns management customer touchpoints

There are several touchpoints or points of interaction between the customer and the ecommerce business in the returns management process. But as we mentioned, it all starts from the moment the customer wants to initiate a return.

1. Customer requests a return on their order

Returns happen for a lot of reasons, some of which have no logical explanation and are simply based on the customer’s emotion. 

But in this case, let’s take the example of the customer being unhappy with their order. The customer selects the item they wish to return along with the valid reason (as requested by you).

2. The return request is rejected or approved from your end

When return requests do not meet the conditions you’ve provided, the return request can be rejected and interaction with the customers for this particular order ends here. 

On the other hand, if the reason for the return is valid it can be approved from your end and the process for initiating the return gets started.

3. When the order return is in transit

Order returns are in transit from the moment it is scheduled to be collected to the moment it reaches back to your store. These moments are usually leveraged by ecommerce brands to share return status updates.