How to keep your returns in check

Friday November 18, 2016 | Posted at 5:22 pm | By Paul Dicken
November 18, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

Managing returns effectively is vital when competing in the multichannel marketplace. According to a survey conducted for Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, 63% of online shoppers had returned an item of women’s clothing, and with the bedroom increasingly being regarded as the new ‘fitting room’, this figure is set to rise.

But customer expectations of free and easy returns, and the need to maximise the value of products coming back to a retailer, are creating huge challenges.

While the vast majority of items can be re-sold, there are still substantial costs involved in retrieving the product and reintegrating it in the sales cycle. At the same time, some products are damaged in transit and cannot be sold again.

So how can online merchants improve their returns rate while keeping their clients happy and loyal?

Our partner ZigZag Global has a few tips and tricks:

  • Don’t hide your returns policy. Make it clear and concise, so the customers know about it before making the purchase.
  • Include returns information in confirmation emails to ensure that customers are aware of the steps they need to take should they want to return a product.
  • Add ‘Return’ or ‘Exchange’ tick boxes to inbound labels and include the channel the goods were sold on to help your warehouse prioritise returns.
  • Improve your dispatch notes by adding reason codes and making forms easy to fill out.
  • Control the cost of your returns and don’t let customers decide the courier. Send them tracked and provide returns labels via a portal.
  • If you’re selling internationally, provide a local returns address. It’s a mandatory requirement for some marketplaces, but it’s also easier for customers and cheaper for retailers.
  • Experiment with free paid returns by setting thresholds for exchanges and returns and creating personalised offers for loyal, high-value customers.


With these tips in mind and Volo’s analytics it should be easy to successfully manage your stock and returns on all channels and marketplaces.

If you want to know more about efficient strategies for managing returns and keeping costs down please contact

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