Time has finally come! Check out the 7 returns management software for eCommerce businesses and decide which one fits your needs the best using this 2022 updated comprehensive list.
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You’re browsing the internet again, trying to relax after a long day. But there’s something in the back of your mind that you simply cannot shake off. And that is “How to effectively manage my returns so I can better sleep at night?”
Happens to the best of us, right?
Joking aside, whenever you’re in trouble or have some big unanswered questions, you’re probably turning to your old, trustworthy friend, Google (or maybe another search engine, who knows?)
In fact, a quick internet search will bring you hundreds, or even thousands of results regarding the best returns management software you could be possibly using to erase away all your returns problems.
But comparing all of them is some serious work and you’re time is way too precious to waste it on such a tedious task of gathering information, comparing it, reviewing the whole process, and so on. Especially since there are so many options you can choose from, all varying in features, pricing, and you might be spending too much money on something that simply doesn’t work for you.
This is exactly why we’re here! With extensive knowledge of returns management tools and eCommerce best practices, we’ve compiled a comprehensive, up-to-date list for you to help you decide on the right platform for your online store right here and now.
When it comes to choosing the returns management platform to work with, you need to think long-term, as with most business-related things. It is an investment that will bring you a considerable return if chosen effectively and used properly.
It’s not something to take lightly. As a matter of fact, the average company spends US$343,000 per year on SaaS tools alone. Business spending matters, and you need to carefully review the apps, tools, and platforms you’re going to put your money into in the long run.
But when it comes to something as complex as returns, what should you be looking for?
There are a lot of things that go into returns management software, but we’ve identified five main categories that make up the foundation of a great returns tool.
Here are the five pillars of a great returns platform:
Tracking and Optimization
There is one thing for sure, and that’s the fact that how you handle returns will undoubtedly affect the customer experience, positively or negatively.
If you’re not managing returns effectively, you’ll risk damaging customer relationships, which can be really troublesome for any eCommerce business. You need to focus a significant part of your efforts on your existing customers as well since the success rate of re-selling them your products and services is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new one is only about 5 -20% (source).
“If you don’t take care of your customer, your competitor will.” ― Bob Hooey
On the other hand, if your returns system enables you to create a positive experience despite the return itself, you’ll be one step closer to closing the deal again. For that, you’ll need tools that facilitate the returns process as much as possible through solutions such as self-service, automatically generated labels, return tracking numbers and return status update notifications.
So which one will it be? Negative or positive customer experience? It’s only up to you to decide!
Being time and cost-effective is a must for any business, especially in eCommerce, an extremely dynamic industry. Customer demand changes rapidly and online stores and retailers need to keep up with their customer base and their needs. This is particularly true when discussing returns.
Nowadays, customers are expecting hassle-free returns, exchanges, or instant store credit. Keeping this in mind, many retailers turn to third-party return management apps to reduce the time it takes to process returns. But before any of that, there are some questions they need to be asking themselves.
Is your team handling return requests in a timely manner?
Are your return shipping labels carrier-compliant?
Are you automating repetitive tasks for increased productivity and overall performance?
Answer these first and then see what areas might need improvement on your end. Once you’ve got everything covered, you can look at returns solutions that can help you increase operational efficiency and relieve some of the pressure off your operations team.
Unfortunately, most of the time we’re concerned with treating the symptom instead of eliminating the cause. This is very much true when it comes to business operations.
You’ve probably tried to add more people to your customer support team to handle return requests, instead of digging deep to find the root of the problem. Maybe you’re receiving too many inquiries from customers who are trying to track their return or who are asking about their refund status. Instead of doing your best to answer more and more inquiries, why not proactively send out notifications and status updates?
This way you can get to the source of the issue and remove all the symptoms long-term!
You might be wondering something like “What does order tracking have to do with returns?”
If so, you’re surely not the only one in this position.
But let us show you how important is to have an integrated ecosystem in order to improve each area separately. For instance, you ship an item to your customer, it arrives at their doorstep, they’re taking their sweet time to check it out thoroughly (as they should), and then they decide it’s not what they’ve been looking for. Now, the tricky question is when does the return window start?
The moment you ship the item? The instance they registered the product on your website? Or the second they’ve received it? If you’re choosing the latter, then you have to know exactly when your customer picks up the product, and order tracking is one effective way to keep an eye on all of your items, return periods, and ultimately improve your inventory management system.
You know what they say: no data, no gain.
In order to create a better experience for your customers, you need to track your returns, review your current processes, and optimize for the future.
However, keep in mind that the returns optimization process implies a continuous improvement that leverages return data to generate the results you’re expecting, such as reduced return rate, increased number of exchanges over refunds, and a clearer overall understanding of return reasons and customer expectations.
This takes time, patience, and a comprehensive returns tool that enables you to monitor all relevant pieces of information across multiple channels.
Before reviewing features, pricing, integrations, you need to decide first what kind of returns software you need. Is it an operational returns tool you’re looking for, a post-purchase returns software, or both?
Now, what’s the difference between the two aforementioned options? It’s simple:
Operational return software streamlines the returns process to optimize operational efficiency, minimize costs, and leverage analytics to decrease the number of future returns.
To put it simply, operational return tools help you process your returns quickly and efficiently while cutting down irrelevant costs and collecting essential return data. These platforms enhance back-end operations and facilitate the entire return process on your end.
On the other hand. post-purchase return software focuses on the customer experience.
They’re great to look at and interact with from the customer’s point of view but they often lack fundamental operational capabilities such as return shipping label generation, package tracking, and refunds monitoring tasks.
For the best results, you’ll need a combination of both: a user-friendly interface for customer-facing operations and useful returns and refunds processing solutions for increased performance on your end.
If you’ve settled once and for all on the type of software you’re looking for, it’s time to understand the main features that turn an average returns platform into the perfect one for your eCommerce business!
We’ve mentioned earlier that the first step is to assess your needs before proceeding. In this regard, you’ll want to look at the main features and core functionality of your preferred returns management solution.
In this category, we have options such as branded return portal, return reasons, customizable return policy rules and logics, QR code return labels, curbside drop-off locations, pre-approved returns, and online store credit, to name a few.
Of course, depending on your business model and industry section, you might need additional features like intelligent dispositions and routing— these come in handy especially when working with multiple warehouses, selling internationally, or owning a dropshipping business. Being able to return items by location, supplier, or carrier can be a life-saving functionality.
What matters is to consider various scenarios before making your final decision: it can save you a lot of trouble, so triple-check if necessary.
If you want a more detailed guide to help you make up your mind, check out our Return Management Tool Guide!
Integrations enable different software programs to communicate with each other, and they’re particularly useful if you want your returns system’s capabilities extended or updated. Moreover, integrations also help streamline day-to-day operations by sharing data between various parts of the business process.
From carrier integrations to customer success and email marketing software, your returns system has to work with various other tools if you want to make the most out of the returns process. Besides, by integrating your applications, you can reduce data repetition and redundancy.
For instance, return reasons are pieces of valuable information that you can use to improve your products, services, and processes. If your integration allows it, you’ll be able to view key customer support data points from your returns system directly in your marketing platform, which helps streamline communication across channels for increased customer satisfaction.
What is the point of providing a returns center for your customers if it’s difficult to use and takes a lot of time to understand and work with, right?
The portal should be practical, straightforward, and intuitive, making the customer feel accomplished after requesting a return and initiating the process. Whether we’re talking user-friendly design or branded content, the key is to make it simple to follow and interact with. This will create a memorable, positive experience that helps increase customer loyalty, and that is exactly what you should be aiming for when deciding on the customer-facing post-purchase features of your returns system.
Customizability means a lot of things, especially in the eCommerce space. But when we’re talking about returns, we refer to the ability to customize rules and logics as effectively as possible to reduce the number of repetitive tasks and decrease the number of return errors.
An eCommerce business should consider implementing a returns system that is fully customizable to their individual needs: the more specific rules and logics you create, the fewer repetitive tasks you have. At the same time, customizable returns systems also bring a decrease in return errors in comparison with non-customizable ones because they’re able to adjust automatically by return reason, country, product order attribute, date range, and so on.
It’s 2022, and there’s no doubt that you need to take security very seriously, no matter whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise. Security is a necessary condition for the economic growth and stability of your organization, and you need to apply the latest security technologies to protect your it from a wide variety of risks.
But sometimes security does not stop on your end. Since you’re working with a number of vendors, suppliers, service providers, etc., you also need to make sure they’re on the same page as you when it comes to confidentiality, integrity, and data protection.
In fact, your return management tool can most surely access and track sensitive information, so you need a highly secure, scalable system to provide a great post-purchase experience while keeping your business and customers safe. In order to check for security compliance, looks for relevant certificates, risk profiles, reports, apps and data security protocols, and so on.
Just as important as security is ongoing developer support.
There is a huge difference between a standard tool that cannot adapt to your specific business needs and a customizable one that has a responsive, interactive development team working on product development to come up with solutions and features that serve your goals. With a flexible development team, you’re getting more than just a standard product— it’s an interactive experience tailored specifically for your company with features designed around what will make the most difference in achieving success!
For instance, if you want to have a better overview of your refunds, you might need to implement a solution such as partial refunds that enable you to keep track of what was received and how much money the customer should be refunded. Even if your current return management software can’t offer you this feature in an instant, it’s great to know that you can work together and rely on them to implement solutions that cover your pain points in a timely manner.
Last but definitely not least is the customer support your returns system can offer.
Just as you’re working really hard on creating a seamless returns experience for your customers, you should also raise up your standards for a great customer support experience from your business partners, suppliers, and service providers. Your staff deserves to work with responsive customer care representatives and tools that won’t hinder productivity.
To determine whether or not they’re a good match for your eCommerce business, look for excellent communication skills, thorough product knowledge, and promptness. There are the little things that matter and these qualities will help you improve your overall performance, retain more customers, and see a higher return.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, this year’s best returns management platforms are *drumrolls* the following (in alphabetical order, that’s why we’re last 😉):
AfterShip is a complex eCommerce solution with robust returns management features that help remove friction, reduce costs, and recapture revenue. With timely return status notifications and smart return rules, this one definitely sets some high standards in terms of returns management software, and it shows no signs of stopping!
Happy Returns is a product return software that allows online retailers to manage their returns. Based in Los Angeles, USA, it is a fantastic return solution that helps eCommerce businesses and omnichannel merchants worldwide. Using this RMA platform, online retailers can create a great return and exchange flow for their customers.
With Loop Returns, eCommerce business owners can rest assured that their product returns will be handled efficiently. With a focus on reducing the rate of return and converting them into exchanges or future purchases through store credit, they’re doing an exceptional job in helping online retailers manage returns successfully long-term!
Another titan in eCommerce and logistics is Narvar, with its returns management platform that makes the entire returns process much easier for customers through branded online returns and exchanges, a variety of drop-off and home pickup options, refund notifications, and more! Having convenience as a core mission, Narvar enables retailers to create an excellent post-purchase experience for their customers.
With a team of dedicated professionals, Return Logic provides tailored returns solutions that aim to help eCommerce businesses increase net profitability and efficiency. As a returns management software, it is simple to use and straightforward, enabling online retailers to free up their time while increasing customer satisfaction.
Returnly is a returns management platform that is packed with a lot of useful and convenient features for both retailers and their customers— one of them being the ability to offer customers full refunds upfront. Their dedication to solving this eCommerce issue helped them create a name for themselves in the industry, and that’s surely for a good reason!
WeSupply is an all-in-one, one-stop platform that enables eCommerce businesses and omnichannel retailers to manage their returns effectively. Focusing on self-service, this returns management solution creates a positive and frictionless returns experience for everyone involved, taking the extra pressure off customer support representatives while keeping customers happy.
|📦 Returns Management||Aftership||Happy Returns||Loop Returns||Narvar||Return Logic||Returnly||WeSupply Labs|
|Return Processing System||✔️||✔️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Automatic or Manual Return Approval||✔️||✔️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Cross-Team Return Management||✖️||✔️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
When it comes to returns management, you need to look for features such as manual or automatic approval, returns analytics, and cross-team management. Do you want your returns approved automatically or would it make more sense for your business to do this task manually? Or would you rather have both? Your preferred tool should meet these requirements in you want to make the most out of your returns platform. You know what they say, set it and forget it!
|⭐Returns User Experience||Aftership||Happy Returns||Loop Returns||Narvar||Return Logic||Returnly||WeSupply Labs|
|Branded Return Portal||✔️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Printerless Returns via QR code||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️|
|Buy Online, Return In Store||✖️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✖️||✔️||✔️|
We’ve already discussed how important is to choose the returns management software that covers both operational tasks and the post-purchase customer experience. This is why solutions such as branded portals, printerless QR codes for return shipping labels, and multiple return location options matter.
|🔁 Refunds and Exchanges||Aftership||Happy Returns||Loop Returns||Narvar||Return Logic||Returnly||WeSupply Labs|
|Instant Credit (Gift Card, Store Credit, or Coupon)||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
What about refunds and exchanges? Is your platform enabling you to provide partial refunds? Can you exchange products that cost more or less than the original price? Can you issue instant store credit? Assess your needs first, answer these questions, and then make a wekk-informed decision!
|📝 Returns Policy||Aftership||Happy Returns||Loop Returns||Narvar||Return Logic||Returnly||WeSupply Labs|
|Return Policy Rules and Logics||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Holiday Specific Return Dates||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Return Fraud Detection||✖️||✖️||✖️||✖️||✔️||✔️||✔️|
And lastly, you should consider choosing the returns management software that enables you to be in alignment with your returns policy— whether we’re talking extended holiday policy or one for international returns. See if you can set up custom logics and, most importantly, if this enables you to avoid or reduce return fraud. Better safe than sorry!
Truth be told, the right tool for your business is the one that answers as many of your questions as possible. Choosing one is a matter of solving your very specific returns management needs, and for that, you’ll have to look at your current processes and practices first to determine how much you’re willing to invest in a returns platform and for what functionalities.
Talk to your customer support and operational teams, assess their needs as well, and then make a well-informed decision to improve the quality of work (and life) of everyone involved in your returns, including suppliers, carriers, and of course, the customer!
If you want to see WeSupply in action, watch our demo today and get started!
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