1) Introduction to Ecommerce Product Returns in EdTech sector
While the education industry had little involvement in the growth of ecommerce, the boom of EdTech in recent years has been due to the adaptive nature of modern-day ecommerce. As with every sector, you will have to deal with ecommerce product returns in the education and EdTech sectors. While it may not be as straightforward as other sectors, the average rate of ecommerce returns is relatively low.
Education and EdTech, where the returns process has a lot of variable factors. The ecommerce returns process has to be optimized to minimize losses. The education and EdTech sectors have to deal with the return of products on multiple fronts rather than having a unified ecommerce returns process. Each company and organization must develop and implement its own ecommerce returns process.
In the EdTech Sector, parents usually purchase the services and products for their children. EdTech companies focus on developing skills for adults, where the adult is looking for a convenient way to upskill themselves. This increases the importance of seamless customer experience as they are looking to purchase quality education at convenience. At the same time, most EdTech companies focus on developing their courses for the real players of the sector on providing a hassle-free customer experience to their customers.
Now that we know the importance of customer experience let’s discuss the types of ecommerce product returns in the Education and EdTech sectors.
2) Types of Ecommerce Product Returns in the Education and EdTech sector
EdTech businesses use various forms of delivery mediums to provide their services to customers. This may include physical products like books and notes or technology products like e-learning devices. As the businesses use these products in their business, they must formulate an ecommerce returns process to handle the returns for this process.
2.1) Physical Returns
In this type of ecommerce return, you will mostly handle physical products that are a part of your service package. This may include books, notebooks, stationery, etc., easily damaged in transit. The good news is that the customers do not place a return for these items until they are in unusable conditions, and most customers would prefer a replacement to a refund.
2.2) Technological Returns
In the era of technology, some businesses in the education sector prefer to deliver their services over e-learning devices like tablets and laptops. Companies use a host of restrictions software to ensure the correct usage of the device. The probability of returning these products is higher than your stationery, as setup and performance issues are involved. However, like most EdTech sectors, customers usually request a replacement rather than a refund.
2.3) Institutional Returns
Most Education and EdTech companies focus on educational institutions to build a solid product and customer base. As these products are shipped in bulk, there is a greater chance of having quality issues. But, you must establish a separate process and a more lenient ecommerce returns process for institutional clients to offer them better services.
2.4) Product Returns
In this case, customers are not happy with your services. If you have a moneyback guarantee or a trial period for your product that makes the customer eligible for a return and refund, you will have to optimize the process to cut down your losses. You can take a one-time fee for your physical material and simply refund the course cost to the customers to optimize your returns process.
3) Ecommerce Product Returns as a part of the Education and EdTech Sector
For any ecommerce business to succeed, the company must build a loyal customer base. This can only be done if you build a solid brand perception and trust among your customers. While there are a lot of gimmicks you can try to pull the customers towards your platforms, ecommerce product returns are a sure-shot way to keep them engaged. Even if the customer did not like the product or the service, a hassle-free returns experience could retain the customer for your platform.
The same principle works for the Education and EdTech companies. Most companies in the education sector use some form of physical product to deliver their services to their customers. It may be a book or an electronic device. The importance of providing these products unharmed to the customers is paramount, as these are the delivery mediums for your services. Therefore, ecommerce product returns in the Education and EdTech sectors are a crucial aspect of the seamless customer experience.
The low return rate is the positive side of the ecommerce product returns in the Education and EdTech sectors. Usually, customers return only damaged/unusable items that can hinder their experience of your products. So, you don’t have to worry about a higher return rate unless your delivery process is not sorted. You can quickly minimize the losses in such cases by negotiating SLA terms with your carriers.
Along with this, the ecommerce side of the education sector has to also deal with multiple types of products and deliveries, as discussed above. As all those components come together to deliver a seamless experience, they are equally crucial to user experience. Therefore, as an EdTech business, you will have to figure out a way to optimize your fulfillment process to handle returns for each product.
4) Best Practices for Ecommerce Product Returns for Education and EdTech
We learned in school that prevention is better than cure. If you follow certain practices, you reduce your platform's average rate of return. Here are some of the best practices for Ecommerce Product Returns for Education and the EdTech Sector:
4.1) Mention Product Inclusions and Descriptions
Most EdTech companies forget to disclose inclusions and price breakdowns in the product description and check-out page. This can mislead the customers and can lead to higher ecommerce returns. You can make product visuals or use infographics to divulge details about the courses so the customers find it easier to grasp.
4.2) Provide Direct Refunds
If you provide inexpensive learning material like textbooks and stationery, it may be best to give a refund without having to process a return. You can charge a one-time fee for your material to save up on cost. If the customer then wishes to get a refund on the course, they can avail it on the course fees and not the cost of the materials. If you decide to include this feature, make sure that you mention this in your policy and checkout page clearly to avoid confusion.
4.3) Improve Customer Support
A parent may not have as much time to sit down and figure out your course and platform. If they do not find it convenient, they may be tempted to request a return. Having a responsive active customer support team will assist the parents in their difficulties and make the first-time setup process easier for them.
4.4) Add a Detailed Guide
The EdTech sector aims to educate the future generation with convenience. Educating a child is a complex and crucial process. Therefore, it is best to include a detailed step-by-step guide for your educational products so that parents and students can easily use your product.
4.5) Use Relationship Manager for Institutional Sales
Institutional sales can be an excellent and steady revenue stream for your business. It is better to appoint a relationship manager to handle ecommerce product returns in the education and EdTech sector for institutions. This can help you reduce unnecessary returns due to confusion from the educators and improve the performance of your product.
Incorporating these practices into your business workflow can help reduce the impact of the cost of ecommerce returns on your bottom line.
5) The Role of Shipping Software in Ecommerce Product Returns in Education and the EdTech Sector
As an EdTech business, you have to dedicate a significant amount of resources to developing a platform and a product that can cater to the need of the learners. As you do that, you may not have ample time or resources to develop and establish something as complex as a fulfillment operation. This is where shipping software comes into play.
Shipping software is usually a single integration that provides you with a plethora of features to assist you in your delivery process. From integrating with multiple carriers to handling ecommerce returns to tracking orders through a single window, shipping software can help you in every area. This allows you to deliver without having to invest resources into the development effectively.
Shipping software like ClickPost can assist you in making deliveries. It also allows you to provide customer experience-enhancing features like live tracking of orders, COD reconciliation and returns management. Since you do not have to dedicate the time and resources to develop the returns process, you can focus on your product and platform.
Access to global technologies has allowed us to be one step further. The future generation can do the same by accessing education that transcends physical boundaries. But, to let that happen, the ecommerce businesses in the Education and EdTech sectors need to focus on providing a seamless customer experience.
Ecommerce Product Returns will allow the guardians to experiment with their children’s education. It also provides a chance for the newer brands and platforms to penetrate the market and reach more unique customers. Therefore, ecommerce returns become essential for the customer experience as well as the growth of the company.
7.1) What should I include in my ecommerce returns policy for my EdTech Platform?
Firstly, you should disclose the refundable and non-refundable items in your returns policy. You should also include the trial or the return period along with specific terms and conditions regarding the conditions of the study material and physical products provided.
7.2) How can I improve the delivery experience without developing a full-scale fulfillment operation?
As a business in the education sector, it is understandable that you may not want to invest in a full-scale fulfillment operation. In such a case, you can take the help of customer experience management software like ClickPost, which allows you to avail the benefits and features of the fulfillment process on a subscription model.