4 valuable opportunities hiding inside returns and exchanges

There is no way to get around it. If you are in the retail business, you are also in the return business. While that may not look so appealing on the surface, we have found several aspects of returns and exchanges that comprise opportunities ranging from upselling to growing customer loyalty.

Like many thriving retailers, you have built your store’s success on a combination of hard work, investment, innovation, and vision. And together, all these elements contribute to creating a unique experience that keeps your customers coming back.

Still, all your efforts to create that exceptional retail space could be wiped out if there is no follow-through in your return experience. One bad exchange and you will lose your customer forever.

Here are a few ways to avoid some of the dreaded refund pitfalls. By implementing these best practices, you can show your customers how much you value them and have them shopping at your store again in the future.

Up-Selling and Engaging

60% of shoppers indicate a preference for returning merchandise in-store. So the odds are good that when they make returns, they will be exactly where you want them—inside your store.

Turn a product exchange situation to your advantage by offering an in-store discount on the purchase of any additional items on the transaction. This approach will both increase loyalty in your current customers and make a lasting positive impression on new customers.

Seize the opportunity to engage with customers and bring up new product arrivals. Make suggestions about similar items currently in store or comment on related products that could be of interest to your customer.

Gathering Insights

While you have your customer engaged in dialogue, make a point of getting feedback as you process the return or exchange. Most customers are quite willing to provide feedback about your products, about themselves and their buying habits, or even about their shopping experience.

You can gain valuable information by weaving a few questions agreeably into the conversation. Did you find something more suitable elsewhere? Was the product unsatisfactory?

This feedback, though collected informally, can provide you with powerful insights to improve or bring changes to your store. Maybe you need to rethink some processes, introduce new brands, or increase quantities in certain sizes. Perhaps a slight adjustment to your pricing strategy will give you that competitive edge.

Whatever the case may be, all you have to do is ask the question.

Reporting return rates

Make the most of your exchanges and returns by mining key information from these transactions. Using the order management technology available in modern POS systems, retailers can monitor returns to identify additional improvement opportunities within your processes. For instance, you can track processing time in order to speed up returns.

Today’s retail technology provides features like category reports that can help you examine return patterns to the incidence of fraud. These reports make it easy to monitor potential abuse from repeat returners and can verify manager overrides on transactions.

Inventory management features help produce category reports that track return stocks in real time so that high-value or top-selling items can be reshelved more efficiently.

Making it easy

In the long run, the advantages of making exchanges and returns easy are limitless. By having a clear and fair return policy, you set appropriate expectations and reduce potential friction. Make returns more convenient by being more flexible whenever possible. For your holiday shoppers, why not extend dates beyond your regular return period?

Your store’s approach toward product returns should be an extension of the customer experience that you have worked so hard to create. And remember that a positive return and exchange experience has a powerful influence on customer loyalty, which can ultimately lead to more sales.

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