1) Overview of eCommerce returns
With the online market growing rapidly, merchants and e-tailers have been juggling between picking, packing, and shipping. They have been working tirelessly on improving customer satisfaction by bridging the gaps in their eCommerce platforms. Despite all efforts, none of them have been able to eliminate eCommerce returns completely.
Many online sellers blame the mere concept of eCommerce platforms for this increasing rate of return. Since customers can't feel or see products physically on these platforms, they often get carried away by the tempting pictures and over-the-top descriptions. Result: they feel unsatisfied after receiving the product and file a return request.
Other than the visibility and touchability factor, there are a few more reasons that drive eCommerce returns. In this article, we'll focus on those reasons and try to find a solution to them.
2) Reasons behind eCommerce returns
Running an eCommerce business isn't only limited to buying and selling products. It involves a lot more factors, including healthy customer relationships and seamless service channels.
Unless sellers know their customers well, they won't be able to cater to their needs and thus witness a higher rate of return. To avoid this situation, merchants and e-tailers should focus on finding the reasons behind unsatisfied customers.
To help them out with this challenging task, here are a few reasons listed below:
a) Wrong product selected by the customer
Different eCommerce platforms follow the different sizes and color brackets for their products. A product that might be available in one size and color combination on website A might end up in another section on another website. This can confuse buyers and push them into purchasing the wrong product.
b) Customer changed their mind
Many studies suggest that most online purchases arise either due to urgency or late-night shopping. In both cases, as soon as the customer realizes he/she doesn't need the product any longer, they file a return request. In very rare cases, eCommerce platforms are able to convert these returns into exchanges and make some profit out of those transactions.
c) Customer received damaged or defective goods
Generally, most online sellers are aware of the condition of the goods in their warehouses. But sometimes, they even lose track and make a mistake by shipping expired or damaged products to the buyers. As a result, both their reputation and business get affected, resulting in an increased rate of return.
Not all customers are truly willing to purchase in online stores. Some have a habit of ordering products, using them till they're eligible for a return, and then requesting a refund. Merchants and e-tailers should be cautious of such customers and stop them as soon as they notice any regularity in their returning patterns.
3) How to handle eCommerce returns?
Avoiding returns is a much more complicated job than it seems. If not handled carefully, returns could break a business and lead to a final shutdown too. Therefore, online sellers should adopt measures that lower their rate of return and keep their customers satisfied.
In simple terms, they should create an effective returns logistics channel that requires customers to follow minimum steps to reach their goals. And to make that happen, here are a few changes you can make to your return workflow.
a) Request customers to post the products to the warehouses
Most eCommerce businesses without a brick-and-mortar store rely on this strategy to curb returns. They request customers post the product to their warehouses or fulfillment centers for further inspection. Once the concerned personnel verifies the product, the return process is approved, and a refund or exchange is initiated as per the customer's demand and in compliance with the platform's return policies.
b) Request customers to return products to stores
Statistics say that 62% of customers shop on eCommerce platforms, considering they have the flexibility to return products to stores. Since returning products to stores saves customers from the complications of different organizations' return logistics channels, they seem more comfortable with it. Plus, customers walking into stores not only results in quicker returns but also leads to prospective sales for the organization.
c) Outsource return logistics
Handling both order fulfillment and returns could put online sellers in a tough spot. It could even lead to mismanagement and a complicated return workflow. Hence, merchants and e-tailers should partner with third-party logistics to simplify their job and work on analyzing the buying and returning patterns of customers to build a seamless sales channel.
4) An introduction to Magento eCommerce returns platform
Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP. The software came into existence on August 31, 2007, when Varien Inc., a US-based private company, launched its first public beta version. Three years later, Roy Rubin, the former CEO of Varien, sold a 49% share of the company to eBay, who in 2015 further sold it to Permira private equity as an independent company.
In 2018, Adobe took a bold step and acquired Magento for $1.68 billion, and since then, Magento has given rise to more than 250,000 online stores. Currently, the platform accounts for more than 12% of all online stores and powers 1.2% of the internet.
4.1) Services offered by Magento
Magento offers two services, namely Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce.
a) Magento Open Source
As the name suggests, Magento Open Source is the free version of the eCommerce platform. It is open to all business owners and can be downloaded, customized, and self-hosted. It gives users access to some of its extensions and themes and helps small or mid-sized business owners find their place in the market.
b) Magento Commerce
A few years back, Magento offered two versions of its platform- Magento Enterprise and Magento Enterprise Cloud. Later, the eCommerce platform clubbed the two into one single service called Magento Commerce.
Being a premium version of Magento, Magento Commerce supports more functions and provides flexibility in operating the platform. However, with ease comes a higher price. The eCommerce platform charges $24,000 a year as the starting fee for Magento 2’s license.
5) Benefits of using Magento
Magento has come a long way in a short span of time. It has been catering to a variety of online sellers irrespective of their size and target audience. And in its evolution, its features have played a vital role.
Magento offers numerous benefits to merchants and e-tailers, from flexibility to search engine optimization. Some of its other benefits include-
Magento allows online sellers to customize their websites and the different categories and subheads inside them as per their choices. Since its an open-source platform, it gives access to numerous extensions for purposes ranging from payment to shipping to accounting and many more.
However, the eCommerce platform doesn't come in handy with design themes. For online sellers who prefer heavily customized websites, they would have to partner with Magento developers to meet their expectations.
b) Easy integration
To survive in the online space, eCommerce platforms need to equip their websites with lots of services such as data applications, shipping, order tracking, logistics, payment gateways, and so on. Magento allows online sellers to integrate with numerous third-party platforms to offer these services on their online stores. It even permits merchants and e-tailers to add Google tools comprising Analytics and Checkout to monitor the website's performance in the online market.
A few years after setting foot in the online space, businesses plan to grow. Merchants and e-tailers wish to open up more online stores, but handling a huge amount of data troubles many of them.
With Magento, this will never be a reason for concern since the eCommerce platform backs sellers from opening multiple online stores and gives them the ease of handling all data from a single backend office.
6) How does Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) work in Magento?
Magento comes with a simplified return logistics channel. Its return workflow doesn't ask users to visit numerous pages to file a return request. Instead, generating a simple RMA number on the eCommerce platform solves all the problems.
To explicate Magento's return workflow further, listed below is a step-by-step explanation of the entire process.
a) Customer files a return request (RMA)
To file a return request (RMA), customers need to log in to their Magento account. They don't have to be a registered user to make the request. As long as their order details are present on the website and Magento's database, they can request an RMA. Even online sellers have the flexibility to initiate an RMA from the Magento Admin.
b) Return request (RMA) issued
Once the merchant or e-tailer receives the return request, he/she analyzes it before issuing a return. Approval of a return request means the online seller is ready to bear the cost of return shipment and offer necessary assistance to the customers. However, customers must keep in mind that the seller has complete authority over accepting or canceling a return request.
c) Customer returns product
Upon getting the seller's approval, customers follow his/her instructions and return the product.
d) Merchant receives the product
When the merchant receives the product, he/she conducts a thorough inspection and decides whether to give partial or complete approval to the return. In some cases, they even cancel the RMA altogether.
Merchants, then, either refurbish the product depending upon its nature and issues or even discard them if needed.
7) How to create a return request on Magento?
Creating a return request on Magento is quite simple, provided you're acquainted with the steps given below.
- Login to your Magento account.
- On the dashboard, click on the Admin sidebar.
- Look for the Sales tab under the Admin sidebar, and click on it.
- Under the Sales tab, go to Returns and click on New Return Request.
- Next, click an order showing Complete status to create a return request.
- Go to the Return Information section and select the Return Items tab.
- To add items for return, select Add Items.
- Select the checkbox for the product you want to return, and click on Add Selected Product to return.
- Choose the number of items to be returned.
- From the Return Reason drop-down list, select the appropriate reason for return. If the customer has other reasons than those mentioned on the website, type it in the text box.
- Under the Item Condition section, select the condition of the merchandise.
- Set Resolution to Exchange, Refund, or Store Credit.
- Finally, click on Submit Returns, and your return request will be created.
Avoiding eCommerce returns is a tough job. However, with a proper return logistics channel, one can reduce it. Paying attention to the demands of customers and their wishes like free goodies, packaging, product condition, etc., can lower your organization's rate of return.
Moreover, analyzing the customers purchasing and returning patterns can also make a huge difference to the traffic you experience on your eCommerce platform.