1) Introduction to Product Returns in Nutrition and Pharma
Maintaining physical and mental health is tough with our modern lifestyle. In a world where screens have taken away our time to eat and sleep, it is natural that screens find a solution to these problems. In virtual worlds, nutrition and Pharma products gained popularity as e-commerce businesses began to push them.
Earlier the wellness market was dominated by individual pharmacists, which were the key source of medicines and wellness supplements for most people. As a result, people did not realize the potential of wellness supplements. The rise of e-commerce in Nutrition and Pharma unlocked the industry's true potential for business owners and customers. The growth was fuelled by the impact of digital campaigns in the industry.
The shift to e-commerce solved another critical problem for the wellness industry. The Nutrition and Pharma industry is a game of customer perception and feedback. The physical sales of these products allowed for very few opportunities to collect feedback. The e-commerce business model allowed the sector to reach out to its customers at every touchpoint to collect data and feedback from their customers. This fostered the growth of quality products in the industry.
The e-commerce business model for the Nutrition and Pharma sector may look different. The products are consumable and perishable. These products may have physiological consequences. At the same time, e-commerce product returns in Nutrition and Pharma become tricky. Regardless of the sector, e-commerce is integral to the customer experience.
In this blog, we will discuss how you can optimize the ecommerce returns process for your wellness platform.
2) Why do we need an ecommerce returns process for Nutrition and Pharma products?
For most of the e-commerce sector, the primary challenge with handling ecommerce product returns is to figure out a feasible supply chain. The Nutrition and Pharma sector may be an exception to this. The critical challenge for other sectors is to find an optimal way to restock and resell the products. However, the impact of returns on your business's bottom line is much more significant in the wellness sector.
In the ecommerce returns process, the wellness sector has to deal with many complications related to product quality. The perishable and non-reusable nature of the product just adds to the issue. To avoid any complex returns exceptions that may result in a financial loss, it is essential to devise an optimal ecommerce returns process when dealing with Nutrition and Pharma products.
The ecommerce sector overcame the hurdle of efficiently educating the consumers about their products. However, enabling customers to return the products remained crucial to a seamless customer experience. The ecommerce returns process for Nutrition and Pharma products is not that easy. Opened products cannot be sold as they are perishable by nature. The shelf life of the product and expired products need to be returned to the manufacturer for a credit refund. On the other hand, customers can also request returns on unopened items, which can be restocked if they have enough shelf life.
As such complications frequently arise in ecommerce product returns in the wellness sector, an ecommerce returns process is crucial for smoother operations. Since the sale and the product are essentially lost in the wellness sector, you may have to formulate your returns policy more carefully. You can design a returns process according to the flexibility of your manufacturer and convenience.
3) What to include in an ecommerce returns policy for Nutrition and Pharma products?
When handling returns in the wellness sector, you may have to formulate a returns policy depending on the category of the products you sell. Some nutritional supplements provide a money-back guarantee on products. You will have to process these refunds with your manufacturer. On the other hand, other return requests have to be handled by you. Here are some of the things you should include in your returns policy for your wellness platform:
3.1) Policy Terms based on Product Conditions
Different product conditions may require different ecommerce returns processes. For example, you can provide a full refund of sealed items as they can be resold. On the other hand, for opened items, it may not be optimal to give a full refund unless the reason is genuine.
3.2) Refund Conditions
The ecommerce returns process for Nutrition and Pharma products mainly involves returns instead of exchanges. Even though it has a lower return rate than other sectors, the returns process is more complex. Refunds must be processed based on the issue and within a defined time frame. You may also have to involve your manufacturer or supplier if their product has a money-back guarantee.
3.3) Returns Cost and Process
A stricter quality check and return approval process are usually needed in the wellness sector to avoid unnecessary returns and losses. It is best to define the returns process in your returns policy. You will also need to outline the liability of the cost of the returns. The wellness sector requires a stricter quality check and approval process to avoid unnecessary returns and losses.
3.4) Specific Return Conditions
While you need a stricter returns approval process, you will have to consider some special case scenarios that are likely to occur. For instance, you may have to bear the cost of return and refund if a customer is allergic to a specific product and the ingredients list is not disclosed beforehand. The same instance has to be followed for wrong and compromised products.
3.5) Medical Disclaimers
While dealing with consumables like Medicines and Test kits, it is better to add a medical disclaimer and guidelines. These guidelines ensure that your customers follow a safe method to use these products and you do not have to deal with products that are in a hazardous condition.
4) Best Returns Practices to reduce Ecommerce Product Returns for Nutrition and Pharma
Now that we have an understanding of the ecommerce returns process let’s take a closer look at how you can reduce returns on your wellness platform. Here are some best practices to lower the ecommerce return rate on your website.
4.1) Improve Content
Having clear and readable product descriptions in a product category as specific as Nutrition and Pharma is essential. If your product is not allowed for a person with a particular physiological condition, you must advise caution in the product descriptions. You will also need to display an accurate list of ingredients and disclose side effects, if any. Apart from this, it will help the customer trust your product and platform more if you display badges and approvals received along with the product visuals.
4.2) Direct Refunds
Often, the cost of ecommerce product returns in Nutrition and Pharma is more than the cost of the product. In such cases, you can use the virtual approval process to provide a direct refund on the purchase. This allows you to save on the reverse logistics cost without hampering the customer experience. But, ensure that you have a proper approval process to shield yourself from e-commerce returns fraud.
4.3) Well-explained Returns and Refunds Policy
Returns policy is one of the key ingredients in the perfect ecommerce returns process recipe. Since many variable factors act in the ecommerce returns process in the wellness sector, you will need to outline each of them in your returns policy. You will also have to outline refund eligibility. For example, unopened products may be eligible for a complete refund. But, opened products may not be suitable for full refunds as they cannot be resold.
4.4) Testimonials and Expert Opinions
This is one sector where you can use the bad reviews to your advantage. It helps the wellness sector add customer and expert reviews to the product page. If a customer was allergic to a specific product and gave you a bad review, you can use this review so that customers with similar conditions do not buy, just to return it. Expert opinions help build trust with your customer, which ultimately reduces the return rate on your website.
4.5) Customer Support
A customer thinks twice before putting something in their body. There are high chances that they are likely to come up with their questions. It is better to have a forum-based question system or an active customer support team to address customer queries at the time of purchase or after the purchase.
5) Final Conclusion
The ecommerce sector was always about delivering convenience to the customers rather than products. For a market with strict regulations and severe product issues like wellness, it is essential to address the issue of returns. E-commerce product returns in Nutrition and Pharma sector are a medi claim, you hope your business does not need it, but it is better to have the best system in place.
The wellness sector does enjoy a lower return rate than most other sectors as the customers can be educated to the maximum extent before a purchase to lower the intent of return. In case you may need it, A foolproof and comprehensive returns policy is your best defense against the returns losses in the wellness industry.
6.1) Should I provide direct refunds for wellness products?
Since the wellness sector deals with consumables, opened products cannot be resold. If the reason for the return is genuine, it is optimal to provide direct refunds. However, if the product issues are with the manufacturer, you will have to process the return as the product will be required to avail a rebate from the manufacturer.
6.2) How to handle ecommerce product returns for Nutrition and Pharma products?
You may have to address many complex product issues and formulate strategies to tackle them if you want to process ecommerce product returns for Nutrition and Pharma products. It may be best to use some of the ecommerce returns best practices to reduce the average rate of ecommerce returns on your website.