Retail returns are the bane of a store manager’s life. All too often, taking back faulty or damaged products is a source of friction between a customer and retail employee. A mismanaged return process can damage your brand and can hurt the morale of your team.
In addition to the factors surrounding customer service, the product return process often means that valuable warehouse space gets taken up by items that are not fit for sale. On top of this, you’ll also need to juggle returns to vendors as well as returns to the manufacturer.
So, how do you stay ahead of product returns management while creating a frictionless experience for customers and employees alike?
In this guide, we’ll share some retail operation tips that will help keep everyone happy while ensuring dead inventory is not taking up valuable time and space.
Creating a No-Quibble Retail Returns Process
The first thing you need to address is the customer service aspect of your return process. Above all else, you need to ensure your returns process is simple and well communicated. Printing your full return policy on the back of store receipts and displaying it at the point of sale will help alleviate any confusion of what can be returned and any timeframe to do so.
Where customers are dissatisfied with a product, they sometimes feel the need to express this by entering into an argument with an in-store employee. This can lead to an unpleasant experience for the staff member, the customer, and for anyone else in the store that witnesses it. Outbursts like this can have a knock-on effect on sales.
The best way to combat customer dissatisfaction is by carrying out thorough team training. By quickly diffusing a customer’s anger, you’ll minimize the impact.
Having a no-quibble return process will also help reduce any tension. This may come at a cost to your business, however, taking the long view will help you save money.
Managing Returned Items
When items are returned, they should be accounted for on your inventory system. These products still have value to your company, as you’ll want credit back from your supplier or manufacturer. This will help ensure you have no variance of returns issues.
You should ensure you keep all damaged and faulty items are clearly separated from other stock. All returns should be labelled with a clear description of the fault.
On a weekly basis, you should go through all returned items and either apply for credit or box them up back to the supplier or manufacturer.
In some cases, where the cost of returning the item outweighs its value you may need to write the stock off your system and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.
How to Create a Retail Returns Process
Retail returns need to be carefully managed. If they’re allowed to get out of hand, it could have an impact on your available warehousing space. The customer service process needs to be carefully considered too, ensuring your brand reputation and your team morale are not affected by a limiting policy.
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