Every online store has to deal with returns sooner or later. While returns are usually regarded as problematic, they do offer your customer service the opportunity to show just how good it is. What’s more, an effective approach to online returns has the power to increase your customer retention rate. This is particularly important, as many of the top spenders online tend to have higher product return rates than average spenders. Here are some simple and effective tips that will help your online store further improve its return process.

  1. Use a mobile inventory management app

Unlike spreadsheets or older inventory management tools, a modern mobile inventory management app offers you more flexibility as far as product returns are concerned. It allows you to more easily reintegrate them into your stock or get them off the shelves to make sure they don’t end up decaying in some location or other.

  1. Make your returns policy clear and visible

Hiding your product returns policy behind a tiny link in the footer won’t deter returns — it will likely only increase confusion and misunderstandings between your customer support team and your customers. Ideally, customers should know the basics of your returns policy before they actually order a product. This saves your customer support team a lot of trouble. Ideally, you want to put returns information close to the product description.

  1. Make returns free

While this obviously increases your costs, it can increase conversions and improve retention rates. Free returns can be especially important if you sell products which are not very expensive in themselves, and for which a returns fee may amount to a quarter or more of the product’s value.

  1. Include return instructions in the packaging

This makes returns as easy as possible for customers and increases their satisfaction. For your customer support team, it can streamline the processing of returns. It will also minimize inconveniences resulting from returns shipped to the wrong address.

  1. Consider offering free product trials

If you are selling products that are not easily damaged and that usually have to be put on or tried in front of a mirror, a free product trial is a great way to minimize returns.

  1. Help customers with better product descriptions

Many product returns can be avoided if products include a good quality image and a video that presents them. While it may not be cost-effective to create videos for every product, all your products should have images and detailed descriptions. Investing in better product descriptions will mean not only fewer returns, but also a better website experience.

  1. Allow for product returns on location

If you have one or more brick-and-mortar stores in the same area your website serves, you can cut free return costs as well as make life easier for customers by allowing them to return products directly at your store.

An effective sales forecasting inventory solution like DataQlick can help you lower return rates. It does this not only by helping reintegrate returned items into your inventory without any hassle, but also by helping you understand which products get the most returns, so that next time you can order better alternatives from your suppliers. Apply the tips above and use an inventory control solution, and dealing with online returns will become so much easier.