1) Overview of eCommerce Product Returns Management Process and Software in Detail
In retail and eCommerce, returns management comprises communicating with customers who want to return a purchased product, as well as obtaining, organising, and restocking goods that have been returned or exchanged. Customer service, logistics, and inventory control – all play an important role in the entire process, and it’s a crucial leg of operations for any eCommerce company. You may drastically reduce business losses and cut costs by using undamaged returned items in place of your warehouse inventory, but of course, only after carefully evaluating and sorting the returned products.
It’s important to understand that returns management doesn’t come in action for every order, but when it does, it extends much beyond the delivery of the item back to the original seller. As an eCommerce provider, you need to have an able returns management system in place to ensure optimum inventory and sales management. Such software not only automates the entire process but also eliminates chances of errors while making the process much faster.
This post is dedicated to exploring the details of eCommerce return management software. The return management and monitoring software we'll be talking about here is at the heart of every eCommerce business's delivery system and reverse logistics.
Returns Management in eCommerce oversees the entire logistics process that begins as soon as a customer places a return request for an order. It is one of the most vital parts of running an eCommerce business. Returns management includes everything from customer support to address customer queries, pick up of returned items, quality checks, reverse shipping to the origin warehouse, and inventory management.
Despite being such a crucial determiner of customer loyalty and satisfaction, many online businesses lack the ability to properly manage returns. This can be attributed to the fact that returns management is an extraordinarily tricky and expensive leg of reverse logistics.
A lot of eCommerce industry players refuse to appoint a robust system for returns management because returns management doesn't apply to all products. We understand where they might be coming from. But, the fact remains that as an eCommerce enterprise grows, so will its number of returns. And we already know, online commerce is chock-full of return requests.
Product returns are not something you can overlook for long. Returns bring disruption to an otherwise smooth functioning business ecosystem. Returns management should be seen as a priority by online stores. Properly addressed returns can help in the efficient functioning of your business, rake in greater profits, and earn you the love of your customers.
2) Let’s Start with the Steps Involved in eCommerce Return Management
A Returns Management software assists you by automating the entire return process. Let's take a look at the steps that are usually followed in returns management. Though you may already be aware of this, here’s a quick roundup of the steps involved in returns management:-
2.1. Customer receives goods and for miscellaneous reasons requests a product return or refund.
2.2. The return, exchange, or refund is approved or denied by the company depending on the availability of the return window and the condition of the goods.
2.3. If the goods are intact and within the return window, they’re picked up from the customer’s location by the pickup agent.
2.4. The goods are returned to the distribution center where they’re examined for damages.
2.5. If there are no damages and the goods are resaleable, they are restocked and sent back to the original warehouse.
2.6. A customer receives an order and places a return request for the same.
2.7. The returns management software tallies the Returns Policy to see if the item is eligible for a return. It also checks if the window for returning items is still open.
2.8. If the item is approved for a return, exchange, or refund, a shipping partner is appointed for the reverse pickup.
2.9. At the time of pick-up, the order is thoroughly vetted for any damages.
2.10. An RMA or a Return Merchandise Authorisation is then issued by the carrier.
2.11. The parcels are then packed and shipped to the warehouse.
2.12. Returns, exchanges, and refunds are initiated wherever applicable.
2.13. The inventory of the eCommerce business is restocked or the returned item is discarded, refurbished, or repaired.
Throughout the entire process, the returns management software allows you full transparency on the whereabouts of the returned product.
3) What is Return Management Software and How It Can Help eCommerce Companies?
Return Management software makes all the tasks listed above hassle-free by automating them. Often referred to as Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) software, it is a tool that helps businesses in inventory management and other various parts of the return process, such as discarding, repurposing, recycling, and restoration of goods. It helps improve transparency and optimize product movement for more effective business.
RMA software is frequently integrated with inventory management systems, allowing for the use of overlapping pieces of information. Warehouse monitoring, inventory control, barcode solutions, model number tracking, and other specific features may be included in the overall system. Irrespective of how much the order volume rises, these tools enable eCommerce companies to reduce losses and increase profitability.
Now, allow us to introduce you to our picks for the best Return Management Software for 2021.
4) Top 10 Best Product Returns Management Software for eCommerce Companies & Business [2021 Updated List]
Any RMA or order monitoring tool's main goal is to provide a tremendous amount of control over a company's supply chain. It usually includes features to help you manage the flow of inbound inventories as well as any unwanted conditions a product may have acquired after being returned, such as damages or open-item statuses. The better return management software you utilize, the better are the chances of customer retention and satisfaction.
However, in order to determine which return management software is the best for your business, you must know about the essential parameters that make a great RMA. To help you make the best decision for your business, we've compiled this list on the basis of several factors such as inventory management, customer experience, return speed and timing, multiple location handling, in-store returns, integration with 3rd party platforms, barcode solutions, cost, transparency, and tech capabilities.
An eCommerce company has too many things to deal with. Adding returns management to the mix is unfair and taxing. To that end, we have come up with the best-in-class return management software that can pair with an online store of any kind to reduce losses from returns. Take a look!
ClickPost brings you the best of returns management with its A.I.-driven technology. This SaaS company provides end-to-end logistics solutions for online retailers. Its clean and user-friendly dashboard allows you to accept returns, print reverse pickup labels, and schedule pickups well in advance. Orders are automatically marked returnable or non-returnable depending on the seller's Return Policy. ClickPost has a built-in customer support feature for customer queries. Customers, while placing the return request can also add the reason for returning the order. ClickPost has an excellent NPR System (Non-Pickup Report) to address failed pickups and reduce RTO% (Return-to-Origin). Furthermore, all reverse shipments can be tracked in real-time and sellers can request a change of warehouse at any moment.
ClickPost is an eCommerce logistics software startup, based out of India that was founded in 2015, with the goal of providing complete logistics solutions for eCommerce companies. It is backed by some of Asia's most powerful investors and is assisting a number of Unicorns in improving their returns management. It provides a great post-purchase experience to the customers with the help of its feature-rich returns management software.
Here are some of the features of Clickpost’s returns management suite:
- It has an intuitive user interface that lets customers place their order returns with ease.
- Returns approval, reverse pickup creation, and orders tracking - everything can be done by using a back-end portal.
- The platform provides optimization of returns to reduce the number of RTO percentages.
- It lets you automatically mark a product returnable or non-returnable according to the default terms and conditions of the seller.
- Offers complete management of failed pickups.
- Provides options for manual and automated returns approval.
4.2) Return Magic
Return Magic is a return management platform that has all the features your business needs to innovate returns management. The software integrates with over 50 carriers to ensure a wide range of pickup locations for reverse shipments. They offer branded tracking pages for all their customers. You can also customize a return request based on specific directions from a customer.
Return Magic is a feature-rich eCommerce returns management platform that provides online retailers with dedicated APIs that they can use to automate their reverse logistics. The platform enables merchants to create branded return web portals, auto-generate return labels, process refunds, and customize emails to reflect the face of their brand.
Here’s a quick look at a few of Return Magic’s features:
- Lets merchants create their own personalized portal quickly and easily.
- Supports exchange management and automates cash and gift card returns.
- Offers convenient and smart auto-generated print labels from over 50 carriers around the world.
- The return experience can be tailored, use smart rules, advanced analytics, and a rules engine.
4.3) Happy Returns
Happy Returns is a product return software that allows e-tailers to accept return orders in bulk. The bulk shipping feature, however, does not mess with the efficiency of product management. One of its coolest characteristics is that orders can be returned via mail as well as in a physical store. This customer-facing feature is well-loved by all and can help your business attract more loyal shoppers.
Happy Returns is based out of Los Angeles, USA, and offers outstanding return solutions to the world's top eCommerce and omnichannel merchants. With the help of this RMA, retailers can provide their customers the finest online return and exchange flow with full-stack returns.
Sneak peek at some of the best features offered by Happy Returns:
- It allows for one-click exchanges and a real-time display of online inventory.
- It provides customer service throughout business hours for product returns.
- The whole process of reverse logistics is available as a separate option.
- It provides options such as in-store returns as well as returns by the carrier.
4.4) Loop Returns
This is another shipping solution provider that looks after product returns. This software focuses its efforts to bring down the rate of returns and convert them into exchanges. Their popularity is proof they have been successful in their endeavor. Exchanges keep the lifecycle of a customer running and replenish customer-business engagement. Loop Returns gives you full control over how you pick up the reverse order, how it travels back, and which container is used for reverse shipping.
Loop Returns is an American startup that provides return management software to online retailers and eCommerce businesses. It provides a collection of interconnected systems that are designed to help eCommerce companies function more efficiently. The platform aims to convert returns into exchanges, thus reducing the number of refunds. This in turn creates a great customer experience and people are compelled to keep coming back.
Some of the best features provided by Loop Returns include:
- It provides integrations with various third-party platforms.
- Analytical reports are provided that give insights to level up brands.
- It helps generate automated labels and return documents.
- Gives the option to customers for a refund or store credit, gift vouchers.
- It helps create new return policy guidelines as per the store.
4.5) Return Logic
Return Logic is a return management software company headquartered in Pennsylvania. What we love about return Logic is that it begins to rectify the returns procedure by looking at the existing system and laying out a tailor-made returns plan that is unique to your business needs. By analyzing the specific pain points of your business, it increases net profitability and efficiency. Products undergo a QC (Quality Check) before it is accepted for return or exchange. Intelligent A.I. restocks products on inventory availability.
Return Logic is a smart return management company located in Pennsylvania, United States. It provides a whole spectrum of automated returns services to direct-to-consumer brands and e-commerce sellers. By helping merchants analyze their existing processes, it helps them identify bottlenecks and discover opportunities for growth. As a result, it assists with reducing costs and boosting net income.
Here’s a quick look at the features of Return Logic:
- It provides product volume forecasting for inventory storage in warehouses.
- It's a multi-location service and provides API integration with various third-party platforms.
- The platform comes with capabilities that can help you with quality management.
- It lets merchants generate return labels, turn returns into exchanges, track returns and exchanges, as well as provide dynamic support to the existing customer service team
Returnly is a returns management platform operating out of San Francisco. They dedicate themselves to solving the returns problem in eCommerce and have made quite a name for themselves. One of their unique and noteworthy features is that they offer customer refunds upfront. The business owner need only pay Returnly if and when they receive the returned order in impeccable condition. This feature is a total game-changer for customer and brand loyalty.
Returnly is a California-based digital returns experience service provider for direct-to-consumer brands. It's an eCommerce smart returns platform that provides inventory management, online returns, exchanges, and green returns options to consumers. It allows merchants to focus on scaling up their business while saving time with efficient returns management.
Some of the best features of Returnly include:
- A high degree of customizability with lots of API integrations.
- Cross border and in-store returns across various countries.
- Returnly Credit enables customers to purchase the correct item before returning the incorrect one.
- Returns optimization to reduce losses and increase profitability.
This reverse logistics company allows the easy inclusion of inbound shipments into the supply chain. Online merchants can integrate with several online marketplaces like Shopify, Magento, etc., and process return requests directly from there. Goods and parcels returning to the warehouse or vendor can be closely monitored by both the customer and eCommerce business. By providing faster deliveries, they bring down the overall cost on returns.
Optoro is a reverse logistics solution company that helps merchants and companies organize and redistribute their returns and excess inventory. It has access to over 500 million clients through various platforms. The software keeps track of goods as they move through a warehouse and eventually reach their destination. Additionally, it also helps monitor the repair, resale, or discarding of such products if needed.
Here’s a quick look at the features offered by Optoro:
- It optimizes and automates channel selection and Return to Vendor (RTV) results on all returned goods.
- It cuts down returns processing expenses significantly by lowering logistics and in-store storage costs, removing redundant touches, and optimizing incoming and outbound shipments.
- It utilizes data to improve performance by providing better visibility.
UniCommerce has been around for some time and is one of the biggest logistics players in the eCommerce ecosystem. They offer solutions to enhance every part of the shipping experience. For returns management, they offer fully customizable options depending on the industry your business belongs to. They make backward logistics hassle-free for the customer by providing refunds and exchange or returns at the same time. And all businesses know, one happy customer can truly change the face of a business.
Unicommerce is an Indian eCommerce return solution company that assists online merchants in providing the greatest post-purchase customer experience after a product has been sold online. They provide a complete and robust returns management system via a centralized panel that allows you to handle returns across all sales channels. Their customer service automation helps boost client satisfaction and attract more consumers.
Sneak peek at Unicommerce’s features:
- Clients receive proactive email notifications, branded tracking, and proper returns documentation.
- Logistics analytics helps in optimization of reverse logistics.
- Refunds, exchange, repair - all the services are provided.
- Returns to multiple warehouses along with receipts in digital format are provided.
ShippyPro is an eCommerce shipping hub that provides tracking and returns management solutions to merchants too. It’s a platform that single-handedly allows companies to completely control their supply chain, regardless of how many sales channels they have. ShippyPro possesses extensive expertise in reverse logistics, helping clients to manage their returns hassle-freely.
Some of the best features offered by ShippyPro are:
- It allows merchants to coordinate their inventory across a variety of selling platforms and online marketplaces such as Shopify, Ebay, Amazon, and Magento.
- In one click, merchants can generate labels, acquire shipping costs, manage inventory, deliver branded notifications, and automate the refund and return process.
- This order management and return software evaluates stock on a regular basis and automatically updates inventory details.
OrderHive optimizes the returns cycle by automating several mechanisms of return management. This processes faster refunds and allows the online business owner to choose the most cost-effective way of managing returns or replacements. Upon receipt, returned products are immediately categorized under resale, repair, or discard clusters. This makes inventory management easy and keeps your online store flush at all times.
Orderhive is an eCommerce software solution company based out of Delaware, United States, that allows merchants to focus on expanding their business while saving time. It’s an app-based ecosystem that helps to manage sales orders, send stocks and order updates, manage reverse logistics, take payments, and initiate refunds, all through a single interface.
Sneak peek at Orderhive’s features:
- It offers customizable terms and conditions for returns criteria.
- The platform facilitates optimization of returns by letting the merchant decide whether to send a replacement based on product condition or offer a refund.
- It allows accelerating the refunds process by approving returns, picking them up, and transporting them faster and more efficiently.
- Orderhive offers several third-party platform integrations.
ReadyReturns is an eCommerce shipping, returns, and CRM software that is a subsidiary of ReadyCloud solutions. It provides customer-friendly returns, exchanges, and an excellent consumer experience to end-users while saving the merchant’s time and labor. Offering seamless integration with your existing online store, it is extremely easy to set up without the need for any coding.
Here’s a quick look at ReadyReturns’ features:
- It lets you generate UPS and USPS pay-per-use return labels.
- It allows you to transform a refund into gift vouchers, add discounts.
- The platform lets you understand what is being returned and keep an eye on it in real-time.
- Refunds for customers and phone support agents can be automated.
- ReadyReturns lets you create your own return policy guidelines as per the store.
5) How to Choose the Best Product Returns Management Software for Your eCommerce Businesses & Services?
You have read through all the features of various return management software. Now comes the part of choosing one. Though each return management application has its own area of specialization, ranging from freight forwarding to managing inventory, all such software essentially provides the same services. So how can one make sure which provider is the best suited to their needs? To make it easier for you, we have listed those components below. Keeping these simple characteristics in mind is the easiest method to find the correct RMA for your company.
5.1) Customer Experience
It can’t be denied that the returns policy and process an eCommerce company follows has a huge impact on its customer experience. As a direct-to-consumer company, one seeks to provide an exceptional experience at every stage of client engagement, and returns are no different. Customer experience is a crucial aspect of any returns management system. It focuses on empowering customers to initiate a return without requiring assistance from the store, as well as removing friction from the returns process. Keeping in mind that 30% to 40% of customers will return a product at some point, it’s essential to rope in a third-party return management system that gives value to customer experience.
5.2) Operational Efficiency of the Returns Management Software
The foundation of a positive client experience is efficient operations. Customers usually want hassle-free returns, exchanges, or store credit. Keeping this in mind, many retailers tie-up with third-party return management software to reduce the time it takes to process a return by almost 10X. The use of intelligently designed automation software allows merchants to substantially speed up their procedures, but of course, everything depends on how compatible your existing system is with such software. Thus, pick an RMA that can integrate with your existing system to result in better operational efficiency for your business.
5.3) Visibility and Tech Capabilities
A key aspect of the returns process is giving merchants complete visibility about the products being returned and offering adequate tech support to ensure reverse logistics to the point of origin. Let’s understand how this works. Before a merchant processes a return request, it needs to gather accurate and updated information about the product being returned.
This can be made available through an integrated ecosystem that can store and share product data across manufacturing sites, departments, and third-party entities to give an eagle-eye view of the entire lifecycle involved in the return. Moreover, if an RMA is integrated with carrier tracking functionality, it can help the merchant understand the shipment's progress through automatic real-time delivery alerts and receipt updates.
Furthermore, integrating barcode IDs can give inbound cargo data additional visibility and reliability. With such IDs in place, a short scan can give shipping receivers complete information about raw materials, conditions, and existing inventory levels, enabling them to deploy personnel and resources as needed. Needless to say, the RMA you select should be able to offer such functionalities.
5.4) Cost of Operation
Low cost doesn’t always mean that the solution is best for you. Both cost and priorities must go hand in hand. Various concerns become much more evident as your eCommerce company grows, and each one must be tackled well. Moreover, you must first determine what your top business problems are and what services the software can offer to overcome them. Post that, you should look for an RMA that offers a healthy mix of features like real-time updates, hassle-free returns processes, low RTO percentage, etc within your budget.
It’s easy to be tempted by low return costs. But, shipping has a strange way of suddenly becoming expensive. Always talk to your logistics provider about add-on features and hidden costs before finalising the deal. Many software companies offer cash handling services and other specialty shipping services only at an added cost.
5.5) Your Business Needs
Your eCommerce firm should have one primary requirement – order fulfillment. Once you start scaling, however, your requirements will also start incorporating things like efficient return management, reducing RTOs, eliminating blocked shipments and poor NDR management, etc. Thus, choose returns management software that offers capabilities to meet these requirements well.
5.6) Overall Service
How a carrier performs all of its services can give you an idea of how they will manage returns. Looking at your logistics provider as one unit lending out various services can help you choose the right one. If a carrier software does not work well for forward logistics or has a bad rep in any of its services, it will perform similarly in returns management too. Consider checking out customer reviews to gain a better understanding.
5.7) Payment Options
Although most people nowadays are comfortable using e-payment gateways, having several payment options at disposal is always a good idea. Go for software that provides a greater range of payment options like Cash on Delivery (CoD), etc.
5.8) Real-Time Order Tracking
The success of online commerce wrests on speedy deliveries and order tracking. Not having a transparent tracking system for shipments can deal a serious blow to your business. For product exchanges, send out notifications to your customers as soon as the exchanged item is out of the warehouse. Customers want full visibility on the mobility of their shipments. Providing them with timely order updates will make them happy and bring value to your online store.
5.9) Speed of Returns
People like online shopping for 2 main reasons - its options and its ease. Returning products makes no one happy. Your customers who have requested for return or exchange of their orders are no more happier with this than you are. The only way to mitigate this situation is to make returns, exchanges and refunds, fast and uncomplicated. After all, if product deliveries can happen at lightning speeds why not product returns?
5.10) Customer Support
As soon as a customer gets anxious about the status of their order, they will want to speak to a customer care executive. Ideally, an ecommerce business should try to eliminate the cause of WISMO calls (Where Is My Order?), but before that happens customer support is of utmost importance. Handling customer complaints and queries well can placate the situation in case of a missed or delayed delivery. It can also reinforce a good relationship between the business and the customer.
5.11) NPR Management (Non-Pickup Report)
Like NDRs (Non-Delivery Report) in outbound logistics, NPRs are extremely common in the reverse shipping journey. This can happen due to an n-number of reasons but an eCommerce business cannot let that affect customers negatively. To achieve that, tie-up with returns management software that prepares detailed NPRs and manages them proactively. A high-functioning NPR system will eventually help you lower cases of missed pick-ups.
The demand for efficient and productive e-commerce return management software is growing in tandem with the growth of the eCommerce industry. Such return software applications are used all over the world and are altering the way eCommerce businesses operate. A good returns program can automate operations like generating returns orders with courier partners, producing labels, and assigning pickup agents that were previously done manually. It's also much easier to keep track of returns and provide notifications to customers with such applications. Such software programs can assist you in taking your company to new heights by maximizing customer experience and improving brand loyalty. Share your experience about this list of top 10 best returns management software with ClickPost via below comment section.