If your online store does not feature an automated RMA portal for your customers, you are making it difficult for them to return products. This causes many customers to instead look for a store that makes it easy for them to return the items that they need to send back. Returns are just a part of running an ecommerce store. But how you manage them and how simple you make it for customers to return items will make a large difference in loyalty, retention and future sales and growth.

Consumers have made it clear in countless recent studies and surveys that they want a simple way to return items online. If stores do not appeal to this mindset, shoppers will just take their business elsewhere. But getting your RMA portal in line with your customers is one thing; assuring that the proper reverse logistics are in place is another. Use the following five tricks to reduce cost and save time with your returns management process.

Reverse Fulfillment Logistics

How does your returns policy read and what sort of reverse fulfillment logistics is that creating for your entity? The online retail returns policy that you have in place will say a lot about your business and will also dictate what you need to address with setting up your RMA portal.

Consider elements like being able to track packages as they are sent back by consumers; knowing what is in those packages and what return shipping is going to cost you (if you are not charging for it); being able to update your fulfillment warehouse with inbound returns so that they can be restocked and resold or liquidated. All of these are crucial elements that the best RMA portal software addresses.

RMA Portal for Customers

Making it simpler for your customers to return a product will help you cement a longstanding relationship with them that centers upon trust and reliability. It also protects your reputation. Therefore, follow in the footsteps of Zappos and make sure that you offer an online RMA portal for your customers to use when they need to make a return.

Bear in mind that companies like Zappos that offer an online RMA portal and free return shipping actually make more money than stores that are not offering such a system. And, yes, product returns can actually make you money when you account for the fact that shoppers who make more returns are also going to buy more things; and that you want to have a certain rate of returns to attract other shoppers to retargeted, higher value items.

What’s more, the only to assure that shoppers are returning to your site to see these retargeted products is by featuring an automated RMA portal that requires that they revisit your store to process a return.

Locking in Favorable Shipping Rates

If you want to really compete with the juggernaut ecommerce stores, then you will want to offer low cost, or preferably free, return shipping. Take a look at your company shipper accounts. Next, assess what the average weight and dimension of your standard return is. Take the average and compare that rate across the board with the major carriers. Find the carrier that offers the rate that best suits your bottom line and see if you can also factor that into your sales price to reduce the impact on your budget.

Furthermore, you can also look at eating return shipping cost as a way of marketing to consumers. Since studies find that about 80% of shoppers want free return shipping, when you give them this, you also advertise to them, help attract new customers via word of mouth, and you also protect your reputation. But you need to assure that you are getting the lowest shipping cost in the meanwhile, so it’s more feasible.

The Power of an Interactive Returns Policy

Everything online is interactive these days. From websites to smartphone apps. So why is your return policy not interactive? And if it were to be, what incentives and perks would that offer to you as a business?

A good example of this can be found with an interactive and automated RMA portal like ReadyReturns. It lets customers process a return online from your website while learning about the returns and driving deep analytics. The end result is that customers can instantly process a return while you learn why they made it and what products are being returned most, so you can make the necessary changes to reduce the rate of returns exponentially.

Creating a Consumer Return Incentive

Your RMA portal is also, and can be, a powerful sales and remarketing tool. That’s because it brings customers back to your website to process the return. When they do, you can feature all sorts of specials that they may find to be attractive. And you can earn their business again by doing something as simple as offering them, for example, a 10% bonus cash addition if they opt for in-store cash and start using it.

Just these aforementioned aspects of the RMA portal can help you improve customer loyalty and retention while boosting sales. When you view returns as unavoidable, it’s time to start seeing how you can capitalize on something that you know will happen anyways. Being able to improve profits, increase consumer confidence and add to your bottom line by making subtle changes is a tune that all e-retailers want to hum along to.

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