How a smooth returns process turns customers into fans

How a smooth returns process turns customers into fans
Jonas van de Poel
Jonas van de Poel
Content Writer
Posted on
August 25, 2022
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Customer loyalty is becoming increasingly important in the cutthroat competitive e-commerce landscape. New customers are harder to bring in. In addition, new customers spend less than loyal customers. Therefore these newcomers form the target group you need to focus on. But how do you turn new customers into returning fans?

A large part depends on optimizing the entire customer journey. After all, research shows that when it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers consider the customer experience more important than the price they pay. 

Since we're talking about the entire customer journey here, this means that - in addition to a smooth purchase process - you also need to offer a smooth return process. In this article, we'll walk you through setting up an optimal returns process that will make your customers fans

Improve the e-commerce customer journey to drive customer loyalty

There’s a persistent misconception in – mainly D2C – e-commerce that companies still often prefer attracting new customers to retaining existing ones. This leaves out the fact that retaining existing customers is much more profitable.

For example, returning customers have a higher average order value (AOV), a higher customer lifetime value (CLV), and they are more likely to make a follow-up purchase. 

Winning e-commerce companies encourage new customers to become repeat customers. As mentioned, they do this by optimizing the entire customer journey. We distinguish 5 phases in this customer journey:

Of the above phases, the first two phases take place before purchase (pre-purchase). The retention and loyalty phase happen after purchase (post-purchase).

Companies focused on attracting new customers often focus only on the pre-purchase phase of the customer journey, letting the post-purchase phase fade into the background. 

The thought behind this is that, since the loot is already in the bad, there’s no need to bother with the customer experience. This is a missed opportunity, since it is precisely in the post-purchase phase that retention and loyalty can be stimulated.

Drive retention and loyalty

One of the most important aspects of the post-purchase phase is the return experience of webshop customers. For example, more than 90% of consumers say they will make another purchase if the return process is smooth. 

If you improve this aspect of the post-purchase customer journey and offer flawless return handling, you will increase your customer retention and loyalty.

How to offer a smooth returns process

It is necessary to treat customers filing a return with the greatest care. After all, you want to change the association the customer has with your brand to a positive one. Therefore, make sure that:

  1. You eliminate the need for customers to print return labels. Instead, opt for an automated process where consumers can register their returns online;
  2. You make sure the customers have an immediately opportunity to exchange items, for example if the size is not right;
  3. You create the option for customers to choose their own carrier (and therefore delivery point);
  4. You offer a channel through which customers can reach you with return questions;
  5. You notify customers of their return, so they know when to expect their money.

With a returns process like this, which puts the customer first, you can be sure that even after a return there is still a repeat purchase in it. This way, you not only retain customers, but you also get the chance to make them fans of your brand. 

Do you also want to offer a smooth returns process?

Returnista's software automates the returns process and also proactively encourages exchanges. In addition, you can (optionally) run all return inquiries through Returnista's customer service for an excellent return experience for all your customers.

Want to know more? Request a demo on our website.

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