December 23, 2021
Come January, frontline teams across the globe will be inundated with post-Holiday in-store returns. And most of those returns will be purchases originally made online.
The ongoing threat of Covid-19 and increased convenience of ecommerce has driven more and more shoppers to purchase holiday gifts online. A recent report from CBRE projects that $66.7 billion of those online sales will become returns – up 13% year-over-year – and could end up costing retailers as much as two-thirds the original price, when factoring in labor, transportation and warehousing costs.
Returns are inevitable. But few customers want to deal with the headache of processing online returns themselves. After all, who wants to print a shipping label and wait in line at the post office? Who would ever want to pay for return shipping?
There is an alternative: Head to your nearest brick and mortar store with those online purchases in tow.
Returns – especially online returns – can be a huge source of friction for customers and associates alike. But companies that take the time now to prepare their field teams via clear and consistent communication will come out on top. In fact, how you deal with ecommerce returns can differentiate your brand, create a competitive advantage, and even make you more profitable.
Are your stores return-ready? We’ve pulled together a cheat sheet to help you ensure your field teams are ready for the storm of post-holiday returns:
Even the most operationally sound retailers may still have a returns process that’s a little counterintuitive. Weird POS workarounds, barcodes that don’t scan easily – tiny nuances like this are typically inconsequential when you’re dealing with a handful of online returns a day, but they can become real roadblocks when your volume of returns shoots up. Treat reopening the same way you’d treat the day after Christmas: do everything in your power to make executing online returns at the POS dead simple.
A large portion of online returns will be liable goods, like seasonal merchandise, that will soon look out of place on the sales floor. Prepare your teams ahead of time to make the best merchandising decisions possible, so the likelihood of re-selling that returned item is as high as possible.
As much as 71% of in-store returns result in an immediate purchase. In this way, online returns can actually be a boon for your business. Take it a step further by helping your frontline teams personalize the experience with tailored offers of replacement or other items to buy as part of the return process.
Zipline is the field enablement platform that ensures your stores do what they’re supposed to do, so your company can get things done and provide a great customer experience. Reach out to learn how we can help improve your store execution to above 90%.
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