Operations

The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel: Designed for Returns

the-fulfillment-innovation-wheel:-designed-for-returns

12 types of fulfillment innovation: designed for returns

ShipHero recently launched The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel to help 3PLs understand what capabilities and service offerings they need to implement in order to be successful and to help online retailers and brands choose which 3PL is right for them by allowing them to ‘check the boxes’.

The Fulfillment Innovation Wheel listed a set of twelve (12) capabilities that fulfillment providers and logistics companies should implement to continually delight their customers and push themselves towards greater success and innovation.

The twelve capabilities are:

  1. 2-day delivery
  2. Same day shipping
  3. At the box personalization
  4. Designed for returns
  5. Sustainable fulfillment
  6. Resilient shipping
  7. Distributed fulfillment
  8. Data now
  9. Automation
  10. Scale up and out
  11. Integration stack
  12. Professional services

In this article, we will be diving into the Capability #4: Designed for Returns.  

And be sure to stay tuned for future articles as we deep-dive into each capability.

Brands and retailers today focus a majority of their efforts on capturing the attention of their customers and closing the sale, collectively spending millions on advertising, social media campaigns, and a sleek, sexy website custom-fitted with a smooth online checkout process. But, what about after the sale? 

If that hard-earned customer decides to return your product, which happens about 30% of the time on average, then faces a subpar return experience… well, that customer loyalty goes down the drain right alongside all those advertising dollars burned to get their business. 

Plain and simple, customers have come to expect a quick and easy return process. Can’t you just hear them shout “It’s 2021! why can’t this be easier?!” into the ear of your poor customer service rep? That’s why a growing number of businesses, led by Amazon and Walmart eCommerce, have taken the customer-centric approach by offering generous return policies and a frictionless return process. 

While this may leave your customers happy, product returns can have an immense impact on conversion rates, on increasing costs, and on complications to your inventory management… without the right returns strategy in place, that is. So how can you offer the return experience your customers have come to expect, without causing serious damage to your margins?

Frictionless Returns

Retailers and brands that outsource their fulfillment need to choose a third-party logistics (3PL) provider that is fully-equipped and ready to offer frictionless returns. So, what does that look like?

The key to frictionless exchanges and returns is automation, paired with generous return policies and clear-cut rules for restocking and inventory management. At ShipHero specifically, we paired with Returnly so that our brands and retailers can offer a seamless, self-service online return experience, complete with a Returns Center and Returnly Credit. Here’s how we make it happen. 

Automation

Returnly helps Shiphero users create a fully branded, self-serve return center, complete with all the necessary automation and policy controls to reduce operating costs and give customers all the options they want upfront.

Returnly Credit

Slow refunds make online returns stressful, but online retailers certainly aren’t willing to take the risk of the returned item being unsellable before issuing refunds. So while customers wait, a lengthy refund process with a lack of visibility over refund status could make your customers lose trust in your business. That’s why we offer Returnly Credit. 

If a shopper opts for a refund, Returnly offers an instant credit to shop your site while the return is processed. And when you save the sale, Returnly pays for the order so your customer gets the right item before returning the wrong one, completely risk free. This decreases your shipping time and increases the return experience for the customer. 

Convert Returns to Repurchases

ShipHero and Returnly seamlessly transfer data to manage and track the return process within ShipHero’s platform. This improved data integration with Returnly makes returns seamless for you and the customer, better positions you to convert returns into repurchases, and saves time and revenue for your business.

Designed for Returns is the capability that can truly make the difference when it comes to customer loyalty and repeat business. So if you are a brand or retailer outsourcing to a 3PL, ensure that they offer a frictionless return process to delight your customers. And if you are a 3PL, having a well-executed return strategy is the best way to handle the ever-growing number of product returns.

And to help you successfully navigate the messy business of returns, we’ve secured our customers access to an exclusive deal — two months free when you sign-up for a Returnly Premium plan before January 31st.

To learn more and claim your offer, click here.



Stay tuned next as we cover Capability #10: Scale Up and Out! Up, up, and ways to go. ShipHero.

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Special thanks to our friends at Shiphero for their insights on this topic.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA, starting in the early days of online commerce when he achieved Power Seller status through his eBay store. This propelled him to become a co-founder of VisionPros.com, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. With a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus, where he helps identify, navigate, and accelerate growth in the complex world of commerce.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast and Shopify Founder Stories, a top-rated twice-weekly podcast where he interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands improve efficiencies, grow revenue, profit, and lifetime customer loyalty.

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