Now is the time when many of us start giving up on the New Year’s resolutions we made so determinedly at the start of the year. But if one of your resolutions is to make your business stand out even more in a crowded field – stay strong! Our round-up of e-commerce trends for 2022 is packed with ideas on how to make your returns processes a competitive service differentiator.
Optimize your returns journey
Convenience is one of the most important elements of keeping online customers happy. No matter how good the quality of your products, many consumers will give up if getting hold of them involves negotiating a slow and cumbersome purchase process. That’s why businesses invest huge amounts of research and innovation into creating customized buyer journeys to offer a tailored experience. But when consumers are accustomed to a quick and easy purchase journey, they expect their returns journey to be simple too. And that’s the reason why optimizing and personalizing returns is a key trend for 2022 for businesses that want to maximize growth and customer loyalty.
More options – more business!
The days of being able to keep consumers happy with just one simple offer are well and truly over. The option to choose a purchase process that suits them is one of the things that keeps a customer returning to your brand. Whether it’s offering a range of payment options, an interface that makes browsing just as easy on a mobile as a desktop, or the option to click and collect items in a physical store – choice drives purchasing decisions.
An omnichannel approach will increasingly drive returns in 2022. In-store returns are free and convenient – but home pick-ups suit many consumers even more. Localized drop-off points are another attractive option, and perhaps in 2022 it’s time to think about scaling this up. By offering busy customers the chance to make a hassle-free return when and where suits them best, you’re providing a convenience that will give your business an edge over competitors.
Go green and grow
Increasingly, consumers are interested in the sustainability of their shopping habits – a trend that will only continue to gain strength in the coming year. Sustainability can only be achieved through the combined efforts of manufacturers, retailers and consumers. E-commerce businesses can contribute by taking steps to reduce the environmental footprint of their returns. Consider packaging for instance: research by Trivium Packaging found that almost 75% of consumers will pay more for products in eco-friendly packaging, while 57% are less likely to buy products with packaging that’s harmful to the environment. Natural packaging materials may be more costly, but they can pay for themselves in customer loyalty and return business.
Steps for more sustainable logistics
Other green logistics solutions for returns include incorporating delivery providers who use renewable energy sources, consolidating shipments, and
avoiding unnecessary transport by localizing returns management, ensuring returned items have the shortest possible journey back to your warehouses and distribution centers. Promoting the re-use of returns that are damaged or unsuitable for re-sale is also important, extending the life cycle of products within a circular economy. Ensuring these measures are in place and well-monitored will boost your brand’s sustainability efforts and help grow your business in 2022.
AI and data for 24/7 service
The role of technology and AI in returns management is also set to become even more important this year and into the future. If you haven’t already, consider digitizing your returns process by enabling customers to register their return online and then be kept up to date throughout the returns process via automated emails.
As a brand, you can also set up a live chat interface to provide instant, 24/7 service. Customers can get the information they need to make a return by interacting with the chatbot, and chatbots can also lead customers to pages they need and help keep them coming back, encouraging future spending and reducing customer service reach-outs.
If you want to make 2022 the year you stand out and edge ahead of your competitors, contact us here at Cycleon to find out how our hi-tech returns management solutions can ensure your customers get the convenience and service they demand.