How To: Improve Your Returns Process

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Improving your returns process does not have to come with a costly price tag.

For businesses selling products or services online, you may be seeing a rising new generation of consumers commonly known as millennial shoppers.

Known to post, boast and review about products, services and brands almost instantaneously after receiving an order, these types of shoppers undoubtedly extend pressure on all aspects of your supply chain. And so, getting it right the first time is a key factor in keeping them loyal! Failure in doing so can often result in customers including millennial shoppers moving on quickly.

However, with an efficient service becoming an industry standard regardless of business size, perfecting the full customer buying journey, more specifically the returns process is becoming increasingly important.



We have put together some suggestions that you can use to help improve the returns process for your customers:

  1. Use an integrated delivery note

Printed in the same way as a standard delivery note, an integrated dispatch note includes a self-adhesive address label which customers can use should they need to return something back to you. Commonly used within e-commerce and dispatching environments, an integrated delivery note often retains all the information needed to help operators complete an efficient restocking process. 

  1. Offer the choice of a pre-paid solution

Simple to implement and easy to track, offering the choice of a pre-paid solution at check-out for a lean operation is a more cost-efficient way of improving a customer’s buying journey. Through this choice, customers can choose whether they would like to have a pre-paid solution included within their order. With this you avoid bombarding customers with excessive packaging material as they would only be included if requested so by the customer.

  1. Consider a drop off delivery service

For businesses with a trade counter or a retail front consider offering a ‘Drop & Go’ service…Following the same principle as ‘Click & Collect’, where customers within a close proximity of your business may collect an item, the Drop & Go service would award customers with the opportunity to exchange or refund their items should they not wish to keep them.

  1. Improve your current packaging choice

For a huge amount of ecommerce businesses, mailing bags are a suitable packing choice and so switching to an alternative may not be necessary. Consider though adding an additional sealing strip on the interior of the bag, this way if an item needs to be sent back customers can easily reuse the bag and save the hassle of finding tape or alternative packaging.

This solution gives you the confidence that your product is well protected on the round journey back to you. Simply ask for a quote on a dual strip mailing bag!

  1. Try boxes with returns closures

Designed to withstand a return journey, dispatch boxes with returns closures ease the stress on the customer to find an appropriate return packaging to use should they need to send an item back.  With a double self-sealing closure on the box, the sender uses one to seal the package while the other is kept unused until needed by the customer.

  1. Add Unlimited delivery and returns

A popular option amongst repetitive and subscription-based purchases unlimited delivery and returns option provides customers with the freedom to order and return without the hassle and fear of having to pay extra. Offering this service builds brand loyalty for the long run and essentially adds that extra value to a customer’s shopping experience.

  1. Try a returns pick up service

For products with specific dimensions, weights or value using a dedicated 3PL provider to satisfy the delivery and pick up service givers buyers the perception that their purchase is valued. Similarly, by using a dedicated service for returns you are assured that an extra level of caution would be used during the transit journey and the order would be well looked after.

For that extra peace of mind, consider using live tracking tools like transit monitors to observe how a parcel is handled through the transit journey. 

8 Use Double Seal Book Boxes

Due to their sturdy and cost-effective nature, boxes are the most common form of packaging when dispatching items. Unknown to many there are several different styles that boxes come in, book boxes for example are multi-functional in purpose, with double sealed book boxes providing protection for multi-dimensional items travelling through the postal system. Purposely designed to suit the shape of a letter box, these book boxes have reinforced corners to provide extra support around edges, while the self-adhesive sealing closures offer customers the opportunity to use the packaging again should they need to send an item back.

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Sarah Hickson

With more than seven years experience as a member of the Davpack sales team, there are few who know more about the range of packaging materials we sell than Sarah. She recently left the company to become a full-time mother, but still maintains regular contact with her former colleagues. As well as sharing her own accumulated wisdom and experience on the blog, Sarah is looking forward to passing on stories from the front line of packaging sales. Davpack

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