Let’s face it, most of us have certain expectations when it comes to shopping online. We want easy-to-navigate, engaging, and transparent experiences. From browsing inventory, customizing orders, and understanding pricing to selecting payment and shipping options at checkout, we expect the end-to-end shopping experience to be seamless. And when it comes to exchanges and returns, we’re no different; clear policies and simplified procedures earn our repeat business—and boost loyalty.
How important is the returns process for today’s online buyers? According to recent studies, it’s critical. Providing a simple, friction-free return experience for shoppers could mean the difference between closing a sale and the dreaded abandoned cart. A recent Baymard Institute study found that 11 percent of shoppers have abandoned at least one order in the past quarter due to unsatisfactory returns policy. And, after the cost of shipping and delivery speed, a Pitney Bowes Global Ecommerce Study shows that a complex returns process is one of the top five reasons for cart abandonment by global shoppers! For online retailers looking to expand their customer base across borders, this is especially concerning.
Want to return something internationally? Not so fast—literally.
Imagine for a moment that you’re from Madrid visiting San Francisco over your summer vacation. One day, while exploring Noe Valley, you stumble across a store that sells unique handmade shoes—but you don’t have enough time to shop. Luckily, they have an online store and ship to Spain. Perfect! After your three pairs of shoes arrive, you discover that they don’t fit and need to exchange them for another size. Sounds straightforward, right? Not quite.
The process starts with a call to customer service (which due to time differences is inconvenient). Then, via email, you’re sent instructions for returning your shoes. Step by step you do as instructed. Unfortunately, in preparing your return, you run into language barriers, confusing customs forms, border restrictions, currency issues, and unanticipated costs. By the time you’ve shipped your shoes, you’re beyond frustrated and have lost confidence in the brand you were so enamored with just a short time ago. What you thought would be a simple return, turned into a difficult, time-consuming, and slow exercise of jumping through hoops. By the time you’re done, you don’t want to follow through with an exchange. You just want your money back from the San Francisco-based retailer—and have decided you won’t be buying from them again (at least online) in the future.
Sadly, complicated international returns don’t only affect shoppers—they prove to be a major pain point for businesses looking to expand their ecommerce businesses internationally.
Turning the tables on highly manual and complex international returns
At Returnly, we’re all about finding new ways to help retailers and brands deliver frictionless returns. Committed to helping our customers expand into international markets and unlock their growth potential, we’re tackling the challenges associated with cross-border returns head-on with our newest solution, Returnly International.
Explains Eduardo Vilar, Returnly founder and CEO, “Our international returns solution is designed to make online shopping easier than ever for today’s global consumer. With a simple, fast and reliable returns process, we’re giving consumers the confidence to buy, while removing one of the biggest obstacles of global ecommerce growth for U.S. and Canadian online retailers ahead of the holiday season.”
For retailers’ shoppers, International Returns simplifies returns across borders by offering:
- Automated Cross-Border Returns: A self-service experience that includes shipping label generation, streamlined duties and tax drawback procedures, and returns tracking.
- Localized Shopping Experiences: Includes options to create regional return centers or display branded domestic return centers in the local language and currency.
- Instant Return Credit & Exchanges: Gives customers increased purchasing power even before they shipping the original items back.
For the retailer, Returnly’s International Returns solution not only streamlines the international workflow processes, it also provides a complete and comprehensive view into returns operations which translates into:
- Better ability to forecast return volume
- Improved insights into global shopping trends (e.g., what’s being returned and why)
- Reduced support call and manual processing cost
With shopping cart abandonment rates as high as 69.57% online retailers will need to do everything they can to meet (if not exceed) modern shopper expectations. And while Returnly’s post-purchase payments technology can’t help retailers ensure the perfect fit for every pair of shoes sold internationally, our solutions can help save sales, encourage future repurchases, and increase customer loyalty when they need to be exchanged or returned.
This article originally appeared in the Returnly blog and has been published here with permission.