Workflow for Return Management Process

Dive into return management! A step-by-step guide to optimize processes and customer trust.

Workflow for return Management process
Workflow for Return Management Process

Let us congratulate you for taking another step to build a seamless customer experience, now in the form of setting a Workflow for Returns Management Process.

Supposedly a user orders a shoe from your e-commerce website of size 8. But it didn’t fit him as it gets a little tight. What next? A size 9 of the identical shoe is the next step he would want in exchange for the current one. 

But imagine what if you don’t have an option to exchange or return the product on your platform? This simply means an experience that the user never thought about that left them annoyed. 

Result? Be ready for negative feedback from them!

For a young or mature D2C brand, user satisfaction is equally important to providing quality products. This generally includes:

  1. Easy product search process

  1. Seamless checkout process

  1. Ability to let them track orders

  1. If not satisfied with the product, an easy return management system.

In this guide, we’ll dive into one of the most critical parts of a user’s journey - The Return Management Processes.

Right from how a Return Management System (RMS) works; to what are the main features you should look for in an RMS, we’ll cover everything in this comprehensive guide.

Let’s get started!

First things first - Let’s quickly understand what an RMS is.

What is Returns Management?

As mentioned in the above example, when your customer wants to return a specific product, they usually go through a set of defined questions in order to complete this process. 

The software that contains these processes when combined together is known as a Return Management System, commonly known as an RMS. This is known as the workflow for return management process.

what is return management software
What is Return Management Software

The Returns Management Process + 4 Easy Ways to Improve it

Initiation of a return process is least favourable for both customers and brands. For customers, it's like going through the buying process again as they are not satisfied with the current product and for brands, it’s a loss of money altogether.

According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, 62% of online shoppers in India check the return policy before making a purchase. This indicates that having a good return policy and an efficient RMS is crucial for attracting and retaining customers.

So, let us help you understand how exactly the return process works.

A typical RMS contains the following steps:

  1. Is the item returnable? 

  1. Why customers want to return items?

  1. Is the condition as it is as received?

  1. Is the item within the return time limit as set by the brand?

  1. Method of return
diagram of questions need to be asked for product return
What questions should be asked while accepting a product return

Step 1: Customer starts the product return process

Once the customer decides to return the product, the first reason they (the brand) asks is; ‘Why do you want to return the product?’

Since every brand and product has a different return policy, they might ask different questions to the customer when they initiate the return. The most common ones are:

  1. Wrong Size

  1. Defective Item

  1. Different Colour

  1. Used Product Delivered

  1. Product Not Working

And many more.

But for every brand, the first process in the workflow for the return management process always remains as initiation via customer.

With a brand like Pragma, the brands get the most useful feature of providing a ‘Dedicated and branded return request page’ for all return queries, and ‘Secure processing via OTP-based returns creation for customers’ that helps personalise the return process.

workflow for returns management process
Customer your Brand's RMS

Step 2: Approval or disapproval of returned products

Now, the customer has filed a product return and the company has received the request for the same. The next step for a brand is to approve or disapprove the return.

This is where Pragma’s feature of Return restrictions on select products (SKUs and Collections) becomes very useful. In this, the brand can disable returns on some specific products, or put a label of only exchange.

Examples of this can be:

  1. Computers, laptops, or Tablets - Contact the Service Center for issues.

  1. Products under the Personal Care category.

  1. Gift cards

  1. Pharmacy products/medicines do not accept returns

And others.

If there aren’t any return restrictions, a Multi-step approval process for accepting requests can significantly reduce the return requests made.

Once a request is made, the company then determines whether to approve it or reject it. If found genuine, they will move ahead with the return process - Refund or Exchange, whichever application. 

Post this, a logistics partner receives the request for product pickup, and handles the process and further returns the product to an authorised warehouse.

This additional cost is borne by the brand - To reduce this cost, the brand can directly connect with Pragma as we offer Deep integrations with Unicommerce, Eazyecom and other WMS to provide a better experience to your customers.

workflow for returns management process
Workflow for returns management process

Step 3: The company receives products 

Now, finally, the logistics partner will pick up the package from the specified address of the customer and deliver it to their warehouse. Now a team of their company checks the product for the defects that the user mentioned.

Turnaround time for such requests varies from company to company based on their return policy. To reduce this time significantly, Internal workflows to return or archive requests based on rules are put in place by the company.

The best part about setting workflows with Pragma’s RMS is that we offer you something that the market doesn’t - Pairing different actions in line with different events

Meaning - We give the brands an option to decide if they want to Initiate a refund after the Quality Check (QC) pass or Initiate an exchange after delivery at the warehouse.

These customised options help the brand to build an RMS workflow where users always feel about priority support being given to them.

workflow for returns management process
Workflow for returns management process

Step 4: Refund initiation

Now, after the product has been received and QC has been done, the company decides if the product is eligible as per the company’s return policy. Some companies may provide a full or partial refund for the product and some might provide an exchange product only.

In cases of refund, Pragm’s feature of Integration with Multiple Payment Gateways acts as a life-saver for the brand as they just have to approve or disapprove the refund and then the rest backend process is taken care of by Pragma and the Payment Gateway directly.

The brand can go on to its customisable dashboard and check the status of the refund and update in real-time about this status to the user.

Important Features in a Return Management System - a Checklist

With a bunch of RMS software in the market, it becomes tough for a buyer to choose the correct one. But one should always understand that every feature might not be relevant to their brand requirements.

So, to help you out, we’ve created a checklist below of the most important features that fits the requirements of every brand. Start analysing the below for your RMS:

  1. Multi-step approval for accepting requests

When a customer initiates a return, the request doesn't immediately go through; instead, it goes through a series of stages for evaluation. Each stakeholder reviews the request, ensuring that it complies with company policies and guidelines. This step-wise approval process minimises errors and unauthorised returns, fostering a more structured and controlled returns ecosystem.

  1. Customisable workflows

Customisable features contribute to enhancing the financial efficiency of return management. Workflows usually differ from company to company and even for various SKUs. Hence, setting up how the return request will be taken forward is important. 

This is done by setting up a Rule Engine that automatically does the routing work for the brand.

  1. Ability to Warehouse mapping for SKUs

An effective RMS lets the brand track and process individual products present in the warehouse. With a tool like Pragma’s Return Management System, one can engage in warehouse mapping of each SKU to a specific location in the warehouse. 

When returns are received from customers, this mapping streamlines the returns process by minimising the time taken to locate returned items, ensuring faster processing and restocking.

  1. Brand logo and colour customisations

Let us ask you this - Why are you even looking at streamlining your Return process?

Is it because everyone else is doing it?

No, right? It’s because you wish to provide the best in-app experience to your customers. Similarly, with customisations, you can make sure the interface your customer uses has a branded appearance and goes on your brand colour 

This helps create brand value for customers navigating through the return process, reinforcing brand identity and maintaining an easy visual experience across your platform.

Other important features that a RMS should possess are:

  1. Dashboard for Shipment details.

  1. Can leave comments against customers’ requests.

  1. Pre-built integration with Logistics partners.

  1. Priority access to customer success manager.

  1. API access that connects RMS to your backend.

  1. Exchange with the same/different product category.

Folks, that’s Not All!

With over 200+ customisable options on your RMS, Pragma Return Management System is already empowering brands like Snitch, Allo Innoware, and Emami.

workflow for returns management process
Workflow for returns management process

Ecommerce returns best practices can help brands control over their return processes, and ensure compliance with their policies, while seamlessly integrating returns into their financial operations. 

Why is Return Management important?

Understanding how to deal with product returns has a lot to do with the user experience. With all the enhancements you make in your operations, it’s equally important to stand in your users’ shoes and see what they are struggling with.

With RMS being in place within your software, it’s time to evaluate the metrics and check how the customer experience has improved. 

We’ve collated a list of all such benefits that users have gotten while they are in touch with a brand Pragma has empowered like Snitch, Allo Innoware, and Emami.

  1. One-click return/exchange request for users.

  1. Support for different kinds of refunds - To source, Coupons, Bank transfer and Store credit.

  1. Seamless browsing and selection during the return/exchange.

  1. Accept exchange differences via COD or Prepaid.

  1. Return Dashboard and tracking system for customers

With those being customer-centric benefits, let’s also understand one of the most important benefits that the brands can get… Build on top of Data-driven strategies.

How to manage returns

Now it's time that we help you with the most important aspects of how to deal with product returns.

With data being the layout of everything you build, it's important to know that Deep Analytics about customer behaviour can be very beneficial in setting up returns processing with best practices, that actually help provide your users a great experience. 

Below are some of the benefits that Pragma has been able to provide via its RMS to its clients:

  1. In-depth analytics on product performance, and pincode performance.

  1. Access to Live data to build strategies on the go.

  1. Multi-level nested reasons for better customer understanding. 

  1. Assign different return reasons for different product types.

  1. Flagging of risky users during order placement or return placement.

It’s also important to know that while you build for a better user experience, it’s equally important for you to make sure fraudster buyers don’t leverage this easy return feature for malicious activities.

Hence, building on top of data collected from 400+ brands, Pragma can help you tackle these spammers and build over best practices for returns processing.

Final Thoughts

With this, we’re at the end of this comprehensive guide that will help you with the all the returns processing best practices you’ll ever need and help build the best Return Management System for your brand.

E-commerce businesses in India can achieve a 15-20% increase in sales by offering a hassle-free returns process. This highlights the importance of having an efficient and customer-friendly RMS that can help drive sales and revenue.

All set to build your RMS with Pragma?

get started with pragma's RMS today
Workflow for returns management process

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