With 89% of American shoppers claiming they would shop again from an online store if treated to a positive returns process, we know that streamlined and hassle-free returns are a great competitive differentiator. For the modern retailer focused on growth, a streamlined returned inventory process should not be an afterthought, but be at the forefront of any growth activities and strategies. So, how do you implement and improve your returns processes without reducing your margins?
Today, we’ll focus on the different returns processes you can implement, the pros and cons involved with each and how you can keep things streamlined even after goods have been received back into your warehouse.
If you require your customers to call or email in their return requests, we refer to these as ‘authorized returns’.
If you opt to make it as simple as possible for yourself and your customers, you ensure the customer can initiate the returns process themselves. You can do this by either including a return slip and free shipping labels in the original shipment, or by allowing the customer to print a returns slip direct from your website. This is known as an ‘automatic’ or ‘blind return’.
Now that we’ve established the different types of returned inventory processes you can adopt in your business, you need to start thinking about how to keep your processes streamlined once goods have arrived in your warehouse.
Receiving returned inventory should initiate actions across various departments in your business, which can be extremely complex if you are using separate systems to manage your inventory and accounts.
Once received, the products need to be checked to decide:
Inventory levels require updating to:
Decide what your customer requires, including:
All of the above transactions affect the financials of the business and each part needs to be accounted for, including:
When processing returned inventory, there are debits and credits everywhere in your accounting and many different workflows you need to ensure are streamlined and efficient. If using a great omnichannel retail system like Brightpearl, these workflows can start to become more automated and seamless even as you grow and expand the business.
Decide which returned inventory process works best for you and your customers, and implement a great system to support the seamless, slick returned inventory processes you’re promoting on your ecommerce website.