Ask any online seller about streamlining their eCommerce logistics process, and you will hardly find anyone saying that it's all roses and rainbows. Such is the intricacy of the procedure; it goes much beyond just picking, packing, and shipping.
Often, people think eCommerce sellers’ jobs end with shipping a product. In reality, it begins at that point. The moment a shipment leaves the fulfillment center, it gives rise to numerous questions, like whether or not it will reach the right destination, be received by the customer, and so on.
Another common query that pops into the sellers’ minds is whether or not the order will result in an RTO (Return to Origin) and double their shipping costs.
If you also worry about the same scenario, this article might help you. Here, we will discuss the importance of RTO in eCommerce and how you can reduce RTO% via Whatsapp Business API. So shall we get started?
2) How to reduce RTO% via Whatsapp Business API?
Though it's impossible to eliminate RTO from any eCommerce business, online sellers can work on reducing it and save significantly. Whatsapp Business API can help them achieve this goal.
Being one of the most popular conversational apps, Whatsapp has enabled businesses to connect better with customers. It has a proven record of increasing successful purchases and offering an enhanced post-purchase experience.
But even with those benefits, merchants, and e-tailers need to keep a few points in mind when using this platform.
2.1) Sharing proper product descriptions
With Whatsapp Business API, online sellers can send bulk images to customers. They can keep customers updated about new product launches or discounts at a personal level with accurate product descriptions and clear images.
Providing correct information and filter-free images prevents disparity in products. It assures customers about the brand and the services provided by it, building trust for future purchases.
2.2) Offering consistent tracking
Sending tracking updates plays a vital role in customer satisfaction and can significantly bring down customer anxiety while the order is on its way. However, updating via emails and text messages can’t compare to the simplicity of a Whatsapp message.
Since most people check their emails and text messages less often, sending a personalized Whatsapp message with some tracking updates is more beneficial and attention-worthy. It provides the customer with the necessary information and reduces the chances of cancellations and reverse shipping costs.
2.3) Giving due importance to customer preferences
Taking the customer’s preference about delivery day and time increases the chances of a successful purchase and builds trust between the buyer and seller.
Since the buyer already knows that his/her product will be arriving on a particular day, asking a simple question regarding the delivery slot and timing can make a huge difference in the customer’s journey and reduce the chances of RTO through failed delivery.
2.4) Cross-check contact details
To avoid failed delivery due to incorrect address, merchants and e-tailers should always cross-check contact details over Whatsapp Business API and make the necessary changes (if any).
2.5) Improve product packaging
The adage “the first impression is the last impression” stands true in the case of eCommerce businesses.
Upon receiving the courier, the first thing that customers notice is the packaging. How well has the product been secured, what materials have gone into its packaging, are there any additional goodies provided with the product, etc.
The little details matter a lot in customers making future purchases at the same website.
2.6) Mode of payment
Generally, most cash on delivery products result in RTOs. Providing other online payment options like UPI, wallets, debit or credit cards, net banking, etc., reduces the chances of RTO in eCommerce and sets a base for future loyal customers.
2.7) Analyze NDR reports
NDR in eCommerce stands for non-delivery reports that maintain transparency in the order journey and lets online sellers ascertain the reason behind returned orders.
Having this information can help merchants and e-tailers devise better business operations and reduce RTO in eCommerce.
2.8) Encourage customer reviews
Often customers don't have the time to visit eCommerce websites just to submit a product review or their experience on the platform. But with Whatsapp Business API, they can find it easy to connect with online sellers and let them know about the issues faced in the order placement or return process.
Plus, they can even suggest better ways for improvement and learn about new initiatives launched by the eCommerce platform.
3) Additional benefits of Whatsapp Business in eCommerce
Apart from reducing RTO in eCommerce, Whatsapp Business API helps merchants and e-tailers revolutionize their eCommerce platforms. It targets the basics and creates brand awareness among customers.
Here are some of its additional benefits:
3.1) Stronger customer relationships
Building strong and long-lasting customer relationships is the goal of every eCommerce business. But at times connecting over too many social media platforms eradicates the essence of basic communication.
With Whatsapp Business API, customers can connect with eCommerce platforms on a personal level and get quick responses from their favorite brands.
3.2) Enhanced customer privacy
With end-to-end encryption, Whatsapp Business API is one of the most secure platforms for communication. It hides the user's data and lets people connect and share their issues with online sellers.
This is especially beneficial in cases where payment information needs to be shared with the online seller.
3.3) Improved convenience and accessibility
Often purchasing products online makes it difficult for the buyers to communicate with customers. They are unable to reach them in case of any discrepancy resulting in fewer or no purchases from that platform in the future.
With Whatsapp Business API, customers are able to communicate with merchants and e-tailers and stay updated about any changes in their order placement or delivery.
3.4) Streamlined customer experience
Gone are the days when profit maximization was the sole goal of businesses. Nowadays, customer experience and satisfaction are the key to better sales and increased profits.
And when eCommerce owners have got a tool like Whatsapp Business API, they don't need to waste hours on creating templates and attractive emails for their customers. Instead, they can simply send persuasive automatic updates regarding shipping, delivery, payment, cart recovery, new product launches, sales, or discounts and acquire new or retain customers.
4) Why is RTO important in the eCommerce industry?
RTO or return to origin in eCommerce refers to the non-deliverability of the order and its return to the seller’s address. This puts a significant cost burden on the eCommerce seller, who not only bears the shipping costs but also has to pay the reverse logistic charges.
On top of that, a considerable amount of effort goes into finding out why the product was returned, fixing it (if there are any issues), repacking it, and selling it to another customer with doubts of the same process being repeated again.
Keeping aside these drawbacks, RTO can help shape an organization. It can save the seller from spending extra amounts on inventory and also increase successful purchases.
Wondering how? Read on the benefits of RTO measurement for eCommerce to find out for yourself.
4.1) Calculating accurate ROI
Often, sellers are seen calculating ROI or return on investment on the total orders placed by the customers, neglecting the canceled, undeliverable, and returned orders in the organization.
Making this mistake can affect the CAC and CLTV values and cause huge trouble for the organization.
4.2) Ease in making the right business decisions
When merchants and e-tailers are aware of the number of products being returned by the customers, they can analyze how much extra stock is needed and negotiate for the same with the manufacturers.
4.3) Enhance customer retention
A large number of returns indicate there might be some issues inside the organization. Correcting those issues on time can help businesses retain customers and acquire new ones in the future.
4.4) Identifying continuously returned products
By analyzing regular RTO data, eCommerce owners can identify products that have been returned frequently and eliminate them from their stock. Doing this will reduce their expenses and also save them from having idle stock in the warehouse.
4.5) Provides feedback for websites
RTO is the best indicator of how well an online platform is doing in terms of acquiring new customers, increasing successful purchases, and retaining customers. It gives a clear-cut idea of the areas that need to be improved and the investments that should be limited.
4.6) Helps estimate shipping costs
An online business investment doesn't stop at packing and shipping the product. It has to bear the reverse shipping charges in case of a return and also make arrangements for shipping the product again to another buyer.
With so much carrier-related work involved, estimating the shipping charges can help online sellers stick to their budget and carve a better future for their organization.
5) What are the common reasons for RTO in eCommerce?
A lot of reasons can lead to an RTO in eCommerce. For instance:
5.1) Customer unavailable for delivery
At times when customers are not present to receive the order themselves or have not assigned someone to pick it up for them, the order is sent back to the warehouse.
5.2) Wrong product delivered
When the seller mistakenly sends something else in place of the ordered product, it results in the courier being returned to the place of origin.
5.3) Disparity in product
Often, the image displayed on the website and the product received in hand differ in terms of color and quality. This is enough to push the buyer to return it to the seller.
5.4) Wrong address or contact details of customer
Sometimes the customer or the person placing the order for a friend or family member isn't sure about the shipping address and ends up providing wrong or incomplete information. This results in the carrier service being unable to identify the place of delivery and return of courier to the seller.
At times incomplete or wrong contact details are handed over to the shippers making it impossible to connect with the customer at the time of delivery.
5.5) Fraudulent practices
Though most RTOs are based on errors or changes in customers' preferences, some are linked to fraudulent activities. Sometimes people place COD orders hoping to use the product for a limited period and return it back, saying it didn't meet their standards.
Other than these, there could be some underlying causes leading to an RTO. As an eCommerce owner, one should identify those causes and work on them before they cause more damage to the business.
Though managing eCommerce logistics is tough, online sellers can simplify it by choosing the right shipping services that offer reduced shipping costs, on-time delivery, proper reverse shipping options, etc., and making some changes within the organization.
Targeting RTO in eCommerce directly without considering the above-mentioned points will be very difficult. But not finding the right solution to decrease it will create situations that will be even tougher to handle. So our advice to eCommerce owners would be to analyze the data in their organization and reduce RTO% via Whatsapp Business API.