In today's highly competitive e-commerce landscape, providing an exceptional customer experience is paramount for any brand looking to thrive. While the buying journey online is quite easy and straightforward, returning something can feel like climbing a mountain. The complications only increase when the return is an international (non-EU) one and customs clearance comes to play.
Put very simply, customs clearance is like the VIP pass that lets goods enter or leave a country's borders hassle-free. It involves complying with various legal and regulatory requirements set by customs authorities.
5 strategies to master international returns
Mastering international returns can be a game-changer for businesses operating in the global market. To ensure a smooth and efficient process, implementing the right strategies is key.
In this article, we're going to unveil five essential steps and strategies to ensure a seamless returns process, with a special focus on international returns. Let's dive right in and master the art of hassle-free returns!
Always Provide a Return Label
One of the cornerstones of an effective returns process is the provision of a return label. A return label ensures that customers can easily send back their purchases if they are dissatisfied or have received a defective item. Not only does this make the returns process convenient for the customers, but it also provides essential tracking information to both the brand and the customer.
Implement a Crystal Clear Return Policy
Statistics show that approximately 70% of customers check the return policy before placing an order. Hence, having a transparent and straightforward return policy is essential.
Clearly state the conditions for returns, such as the timeframe for returns, acceptable reasons for returns, and any other relevant requirements. It’s especially important to outline specific guidelines for international returns and highlight information such as which markets are eligible for a return label, the possibility of return fees, and how customs clearance will be handled.
Proactively Inform Customers about their Return Status
One of the most common reasons customers contact customer support is to inquire about the status of their returns. To alleviate this, brands can take advantage of technology to proactively keep customers informed. You can use a return tracking page, a chatbot or automated emails to provide real-time updates on the return journey.
Having a return tracking page is particularly important for international returns, and the item generally takes longer to get back to the warehouse. With the tracking page in hand, the customer can live-track their item at all times without the need to contact the brand.
Keeping your customers informed on their return makes them feel secure, builds trust with the brand and reduces unnecessary calls to customer support. This synergy creates a smoother and more satisfying experience for customers, which ultimately will lead them to return to your store.
Automate the Refund Process to speed things up
A fast refund process is a crucial factor in maintaining customer satisfaction during the returns journey. By automating the refund process, brands can speed up the entire transaction.
Consider processing a refund as soon as the return parcel is in transit back to the brand. This proactive approach ensures that customers receive their refund faster and do not have to call customer service to inquire about their refund status. This leads to an overall more efficient and seamless experience.
Leverage Paperless Trade Technology for Non-EU Returns
For international markets, the significance of customs clearance cannot be overstated. As customers from different countries return their purchases, navigating the complexities of customs regulations can be a daunting task.
For returns from non-EU countries, leveraging paperless trade technology can significantly simplify the process for both customers and the customer service team. This technology enables brands to automate the generation of custom invoices, reducing potential delays and errors. By adopting such technology, brands can enhance the overall returns experience, making it more efficient and hassle-free for customers globally.
Actually, Macede Golf, one of our customers, who mostly sell outside of Europe, processes returns 3 times faster thanks to yayloh’s integration with FedEx, which offers paperless trade technology to automate customs invoice generation.
Benefits of paperless trade technology
Embracing paperless trade technology offers a multitude of compelling benefits for e-commerce brands. By transitioning from traditional paper-based documentation to digital solutions, these brands can unlock new levels of efficiency and agility in their international operations.
With faster processing times and reduced administrative burdens, e-commerce businesses can accelerate their supply chain processes and deliver products to customers faster. Additionally, paperless trading minimises the risk of errors and delays, ensuring greater accuracy in trade-related documents and regulatory compliance.
More transparent and sustainable
The streamlined exchange of information through electronic platforms enhances transparency, allowing brands to track shipments in real time and provide customers with up-to-date delivery status. Moreover, the environmental advantages of reducing paper usage align with the growing demand for sustainable practices in ecommerce, which can boost the brand's reputation among eco-conscious consumers.
Enhance customer experience
By leveraging paperless trade technology, e-commerce brands can gain a competitive edge, foster stronger global partnerships, and create an exceptional customer experience that fuels their growth in the dynamic and growing world of ecommerce.
Improve the overall process with a return management platform
If you’re struggling with your current return process, yayloh might be the missing piece you’re looking for. The return management software streamlines the return journey and automates return operations like automatically generating return labels and customs documents, and attaches both in an automated and bully-branded return confirmation email.
A well-executed returns process is an integral part of providing an exceptional customer experience and fostering brand loyalty. By implementing a clear return policy, providing return labels, proactively updating customers, and leveraging technology to automate customs and refunds, brands can optimize their returns process.
This not only boosts customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Embracing these strategies will undoubtedly solidify a brand's position as customer-centric and trustworthy in the competitive world of e-commerce.