A digitised, transparent and simple process means that the return quickly becomes a competitive advantage. The return, the part of the buyer’s journey that is widely disliked, instead becomes a friction-free experience. There are also many monetary reasons why you should move away from a manual approach, to a digitised and automated flow. Here is why.
To work manually with return management
Handling the return manually at the warehouse is becoming increasingly time-consuming. Not only because e-commerce has experienced explosive growth in the past year, but also because more e-retailers are becoming aware of alternatives to returns, such as exchanges.
Manual handling of a return means that: information about what is on the way is completely excluded, that each return needs to be registered by hand into the warehouse systems, and in some cases, into several other systems. Additionally, customers rarely receive updates about their return and contact customer service for information.
As with much else, there are huge gains in digitising the returns management process in your warehouse.
Advantages of digitised warehouse return handling
- Eliminate handwritten return slips
- See exactly how many returns are on the way
- Adjust staffing according to the number of incoming returns
- Save time through automation
- Reduce the risk of human error
Eliminate handwritten return slips
Is there anyone who would miss handwritten return slips? No? As I suspected.
In a digitised returns process, the customer registers a return, choose the reason for returning/submitting a claim, and attach a picture of the product in the returns portal. As a result, the warehouse staff can simply scan incoming goods with a hand scanner in order to see all return information without having to register anything into the system.
How many incoming returns can we expect?
The biggest advantage of digitising the return is that you always know exactly how many, and which, returned goods are on their way to your warehouse. Large packages? Small packages? Many packages?
With the help of that information, you can, for example, adjust staffing as needed, and constantly notify your customers with current return status, along with minimising the load on customer service in terms of return-related matters.
Adjust staffing according to the number of incoming returns
As I mentioned, there is a great advantage in having the customer register the return digitally in a return portal.
As a result, you can adjust the staffing of the warehouse according to the amount of returning goods as notice trends depending on season and/or campaigns. With the help of real-time data, you can easily see when the pressure increases and the flow of returns increase or decrease. However, you can also use the information to adjust the staffing of other departments, e.g. customer service.
Save time through automation
Fact: A manually handled return can take up to 20 minutes in total processing time.
This includes: registering all return data specified on the hand-written return slip sent back with the package, checking the item for damage, and updating the stock balance along with initiating the refund. However, no customer interaction with customer service is included in the calculation.
But, by digitising the process and letting the customer register the return data, even before the item is sent back, a great deal of time is saved. Additionally, if you connect your process to a returns management system, you can instead complete a return in about 5-10 seconds. Scan, check, and done.
Reduce the risk of human error
The larger number of manual steps in the return management process, the higher the risk of mistakes due to human error.
Therefore, it is important that all systems containing return-related data “speak” to each other through integrations. More digitisation and automation = less to no risk.
A digital process makes the return your competitive edge
In addition to optimising your internal working methods by digitising and automating, you can also count on an improved customer experience.
The return can in many cases determine whether a customer chooses to shop with a e-retailer again or not. A smooth, simple and transparent returns process can make the return one of your main competitive advantages.