Optoro, provider of returns services for retail and ecommerce, has raised $25 million in a funding round led by Zebra Technologies, whose handheld scanning devices run Optoro software for processing returns in store and in warehouses, giving Optoro access to Zebra’s large customer base (photo credit: The Wilson Post)
Flexible returns policies increase customer confidence, especially for ecommerce purchases, which is why savvy marketers dedicate themselves to ensuring an easy process. However, this frictionless approach also opens the door to those looking to exploit it. Here’s how to deal with ecommerce return fraud this holiday season.
How can retailers leverage costly ecommerce returns into a sales tool? It’s an interesting question, given how retailers wrestle with the avalanche of costly returns. Some have remade returns into a customer loyalty campaign, while tech-savvy companies are taking the returns experience to the next level with AI and computer vision.
Here is a look at the building blocks that have enabled retailers to turn a negative experience into a positive opportunity for additional sales.
Looking to create more of an end-to-end ecommerce solution and move beyond the perception that it’s a payments platform only, PayPal has acquired Happy Returns, which consolidates returns for retailers via a national network of mall and store collection points. PayPal had led a 2019 funding round of $11M into Happy Returns.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s this: Retailers can no longer afford to view returns as a cost of doing business, but instead need to make it a key business strategy driving customer loyalty. Successful retailers are enhancing their returns policies and solutions to make returns a differentiator.
Is your ecommerce returns process preventing customers from returning items – and thus not returning to shop with you again? The answer might be yes. Returns provide the ability to drive repeat purchases, if done right. Make sure your returns processes support this, and don’t instead create non-returners.
With the imperative to reduce returns shipping costs, it’s no wonder SMB fulfillment teams increasingly look for data trends. Patterns can help identify recurring fulfillment errors, which can be eliminated to help reduce avoidable returns. But as the stakes continue to rise, how do you address “unavoidable” returns?
After the explosion in holiday ecommerce, comes the flood of holiday returns, expected to cost retailers $1.1 billion, twice what it did in 2020, according to data from Narvar. goTRG and Returnly both said Dec. 26 was the peak day for consumers to initiate returns. UPS traditionally lists Jan. 2 as peak returns day for transit of returns.
After parting ways with Amazon last year, FedEx is now jumping deeper into ecommerce returns, much as Amazon did with Kohl’s, by adding Happy Returns bars to 2,000+ FedEx locations, including 300 inside Walmart stores. Unboxed returns will be accepted from 150 different retailers when the program launches at the end of October.
Issues with sizing and color conventions have probably been an issue since the invention of clothes. And with so much shopping now driven online by the pandemic, combined with generally liberal return policies, apparel returns have exploded. New technology solutions and industry standards are both working to solve the problem.