Communication in the returns process

Woman takes a photo of a parcel

Woman takes a photo of a parcel

Online Retailer Study 2022 Communication in the returns process

Published on 17.11.2022 by Yannick Küffer, Digital Commerce Consultant, Swiss Post

The most emotive part of online shopping for many customers is the shipping process. This is where the key to customer retention lies. Unfortunately, many online shops neglect to keep communicating with their customers. For them, it’s job done as soon as the customer presses the order button.

But communication with the customer during the shipping phase is critical, and a company that continues to communicate with their customers once an order has been confirmed will reap the rewards.

Why is communication during the shipping process so important?

The build-up to receiving a product is one of the most emotive moments when it comes to online shopping. When the consignment is en route, transparency is essential if you want your customers to be happy when they receive it. The most important delivery options for Swiss consumers across all age groups are track & trace and advance notice of consignments.

How important are the following delivery options to you?

Graphic: The most important delivery options to all age groups are tracking the delivery online and advance notice of receipt
Graphic: The most important delivery options to all age groups are tracking the delivery online and advance notice of receipt. Source: E-commerce trend indicator 2022, Swiss Post

And what about communication when it comes to returns?

Communication during the returns process is also an opportunity to be in touch with the customer. It allows retailers to make the returns process, which tends to be viewed in a negative light, more positive, and it’s an opportunity to communicate with the customer. As a matter of fact, over half of respondents to the 2022 trend indicator said they nearly always look at the return conditions prior to placing an order.

Whilst shipping communication is something that retailers actively pursue, the returns process sees hardly any active communication. There are many reasons for this: for one thing, it’s become apparent that returns is an area that tends to be neglected. Retailers outside the fashion industry generally have a lower returns rate, and often don’t give returns that much consideration. Even retailers with higher returns rates will only very occasionally make proper improvements to their returns processes. What’s more, returns are usually processed very quickly. The retailers surveyed stated that refunds are usually triggered the day the return is received, provided the return has been accepted by the retailer.

If we look at Swiss Post’s 2022 trend indicator, we see that quick refunds are important to 83% of respondents. In many cases, customers wait no longer than two or three days to receive a refund. This doesn’t leave much time for communication in between. Yet more active communication in the returns process is a fantastic opportunity to consolidate a customer relationship, and to stand out from the competition.

Yannick Küffer, Digital Commerce Consultant, Swiss Post

Yannick Küffer is a Digital Commerce Consultant at Swiss Post’s Digital Commerce Competence Center. In this role, he supports retail customers in developing their digital maturity by providing strategic advice relating to digitization and designing solutions.

Portrait Yannick Kueffer

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