Introduction to WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform that operates as a flexible open-source plugin in WordPress. With its thousands of extensions and feature customizations, anybody can build a professional-looking eCommerce website with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is equipped with all the necessary functionalities to operate a profitable eCommerce business. It offers inventory and shipping options, secure payment methods including cash on delivery, integrations with various marketplaces and point of sale solutions, and an intuitive dashboard to manage and fulfill orders. This is why over 5.1 million websites are relying on WooCommerce for business.
However, WooCommerce’s capacity is not limited to shipping and delivering thousands of products each month. Like most other eCommerce businesses across Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce, WooCommerce merchants also have to grapple with an increasing rate of product returns.
Though WooCommerce has plenty of returns plugins to ease merchant worries about return and refund requests, not everyone is well aware of how WooCommerce eCommerce returns work and the solutions to lessen return rates for store owners.
This is why we have brought this article to answer all the central questions about WooCommerce returns and how you can turn returns into profits.
How Returns Impact WooCommerce eCommerce Stores
Returns are an unavoidable part of eCommerce businesses. If they are not appropriately managed, with no system for monitoring return shipping and heavy returns costs. WooCommerce store owners can potentially lose customers and revenue and earn a bad reputation through scathing customer reviews and social media remarks.
This is why paying attention to the return and refund process is necessary. Let’s look into how wooCommerce manages the refund process.
What is the Return and Refund Process in WooCommerce
The WooCommerce return and refund process begins when customers communicate their intent to return a product or bunch of products. To refund, store owners can visit their WooCommerce plugin directly and check on Orders in the dropdown menu. Then they can select the order intended for a refund.
The WooCommerce returns process begins once the product quantity and refund amount are specified. The refund is then processed via the payment gateway selected. Furthermore, WooCommerce allows you to either process a full refund when all the products are returned or a partial refund when specific products in a bundle are returned.
While the refund process is generic, WooCommerce has two modes of refunds depending on whether the store owner wishes to automate the payment process or manually handle it.
In the manual mode, eCommerce businesses have to manually log in to their preferred payment method account and manually initiate a money transfer from their bank account. As store owners enter the quantity of the item and the amount, they get the option to ‘refund xx amount manually.’
In the automatic mode, the store owners configure the preferred payment method and gateway in their WooCommerce Admin to initiate the repayment process immediately. You can get the option of payment API configuration in the Payments setting tab such that the payment option naturally appears during checkout. It is advisable always to check if the payment gateways support automatic refunds.
Store owners can get refund notifications via order notes in the sidebar of the Orders page.
How to Manage WooCommerce eCommerce Returns
The WooCommerce eCommerce returns are not a breezy ballgame. Without a proper system, a lot of manual labor is exhausted, leaving behind a trail of mayhem.
Going through return requests, manually approving or rejecting them, initiating the payment process, generating returns labels, assigning shipping carriers for pickup, and tracking each returned product is costly, time-consuming, and prone to errors. Most importantly, it causes delays. And delays are bad news to customers who just want their refund or exchange.
To avoid confusion and to keep a proper system in place, it is vital to have a Return Merchandise Authorization system in place. This refers to a series of processes you build that streamlines your returns and refund.
Ideally, an RMA system includes a well-rounded refund policy that dictates your return conditions, items not eligible for refunds, sets a period for returns or warranties, and refund options, amongst other details. Amongst the repayment options, it is recommended to keep a store wallet feature that keeps the cash customers can use in future purchases.
An RMA is incomplete without an easy, downloadable option for return labels, email communication channels, shipment tracking system, coupons, and tax management.
How Can ClickPost the WooCommerce eCommerce Returns Problems?
While a sound RMA system has the features mentioned above, the perfect RMA is digitized and automated, running the returns process from the backend without needing constant manual intervention. This is why a SaaS-based returns management solution like ClickPost is the optimal option.
While it is plausible for many WooCommerce store owners to be content with the various plugins for their ease of use and services in enabling refunds, tracking, and customer notifications, is it crucial to ask: are these enough?
As WooCommerce businesses expand their product categories and upscale their services, customer demands for a safe and convenient return experience also grow. The RMA has to tackle increasing return or exchange requests, assign carriers for reverse logistics, track the shipments and handle unexpected pickup exceptions. These require robust management and monitoring, which returns management solutions like ClickPost can handle.
With ClickPost, store owners can automate the returns process by presetting their refund policy and terms in the ClickPost dashboard so that returns are automatically approved if they comply with brand policy and rejected if not.
The return form is fully customizable to include return reasons, adding comments, and, if required, propel customers to attach images for verifying the product conditions. The agency rests with the storeowners while customers get a branded return form that simplifies filing a return.
ClickPost’s intelligent AI engine automatically allocates the best-suited carrier for each reverse logistics pick-up so that customers do not face delays in pick-up and brands can quickly recover the product. The faster the pickup is, the quicker the brands can restock the product as inventory for reselling.
In cases of exceptions like customer unavailability or wrong address ClickPost manages the situation by contacting customers for correct information and notifying the shipping carrier for a successful pickup attempt.
Moreover, ClickPost’s Push and Pull API system communicates with shipping carriers in real time to extract tracking data for the brand. Notifying customers of each milestone calms their nerves and keeps them confident about the brand’s competency in handling returns.
Top Extensions and Software to Reduce Returns for WooCommerce
WooCommerce runs primarily on plugins. Below are brief descriptions of some popular extensions and software for WooCommerce eCommerce returns.
1) WooCommerce Returns and Warranty Requests
The plugin is developed by WooCommerce that enables customers to manage return and exchange requests from their accounts instead of sending an email or text for return requests. Store owners control setting product warranties, automated email exchanges, and tracking orders.
2) YITH Advanced Refund System
YITH transforms the simple refund version of the WooCommerce into an advanced system capable of offering an automatic refund to a single product or an entire list via the preferred payment method, specifying the refund time, offering a full or partial refund, and presenting coupons with a customized expiration date as an alternative.
With YITH, WooCommerce businesses can upgrade their stock automatically after the return is completed, make adjustments to product categories when desired, notify customers of the order details as and when an item cannot be refunded, and communicate with customers.
Outvio is another returns management software available as a plugin for WooCommerce users. With Outvio, you can provide both national and international returns. Store owners can automate the approval process for returns, set return periods, and dictate shipping costs, preferred methods, and refund options.
Outvio has a built-in Q&A option on the returns page for real-time customer interaction. It also provides detailed reports on return rates and reasons so that store owners can develop a strategic RMA policy.
4) WooCommerce Smart Refunder
Smart Refunder plugin makes instant refunds a reality for thousands of WooCommerce eCommerce customers. If the business’s payment gateway is ready, the store owner can enable the instant refund option with Smart Refunder. Otherwise, they can manually trigger the refund process. The plugin also allows businesses to offer store credit or cash refunds. The fast reimbursement feature of Smart Refunder is a popular choice for many WooCommerce eCommerce businesses.
How to Write and Add a Refund Policy to Reduce WooCommerce Returns
A refund policy is a string that attaches your customer to your store. Many eCommerce reports suggest that more than 50% of customers check the store’s refund policy before placing an order. Therefore, having the right refund policy is crucial in gaining customers’ attention and increasing revenue.
One of our previous articles already mentions how to create the best refund policy that is apt for WooCommerce store owners. Simply put, a good refund policy clearly states the terms and conditions of returning a product to the store, including the time frame, shipping method, cost of the return, and non-refundable items, in a clear, friendly tone of voice.
Storeowners can either add the URL of their refund policy via the Menu options on the WooCommerce dashboard in the website's footer or create a refund policy page using the custom product tabs of any WooCommerce plugin.
WooCommerce eCommerce returns are a glaring reality for thousands of store owners. While customer returns cannot be avoided, WooCommerce houses different plugins to solve and modulate returns. With the right choice of RMA solution, be it a plugin or a SaaS-based solution, store owners can automate returns, offer various modes of reimbursements and amplify the customer experience with a sound tracking system and efficient communication channel.
1) How to manage returns in WooCommerce?
WooCommerce has two ways to approve return requests and issue refunds from the WooCommerce Admin dashboard: manually refunding the amount or automating the payment method for the direct refund to the customer’s original payment source. To extend the exchange and store credit options, WooCommerce has many plugins in its store. But, to effectively manage the reverse logistics service as the brand grows, it is best to use a returns management software like ClickPost that streamlines the complete return process.
2) What is WooCommerce Return Policy?
A Return Policy for WooCommerce has four essential features. First, it specifies the number of days a customer can raise a return request. Two, it mentions the type of items and the conditions under which an item is eligible for return. Three, it dictates how the refund will be processed and paid. Four, it also mentions the return shipping methods and if there are any shipping or restocking charges that customers have to pay. Stores can separately add more clauses and even make a distinct refund policy.