How Shopify merchants can ace holiday returns challenges

Loop’s manager of content marketing, JP Arnaud-Marquez spoke with Jeff Gamet of Retail Dive and Carol Spieckerman of Spieckerman Retail about the particular challenges facing Shopify merchants this holiday season. 

In particular, the three industry experts discussed the importance of providing a seamless customer experience for your shoppers, before, during, and after purchase.

Arnaud-Marquez, Gamet, and Spieckerman also talked about how Shopify brands will need to solve their existing returns issues not only to prepare for the holiday season, but also to survive when facing the seemingly tumultuous future of ecommerce for 2023.

Related: Navigating uncertain landscapes for D2C brands

It might sound daunting, but the key to successful (and profitable) Shopify returns this holiday season and beyond boils down to one thing: having the right returns solution (like Loop, for example) on deck. 

Here’s how the right returns solution can streamline your holiday returns, create a more seamless returns experience for your shoppers, and help you turn returns into a means for customer and revenue retention.

Read more: 4 ways to increase customer lifetime value

Holiday retail challenges are connected to year-round disruptions

While the holiday season can certainly exacerbate returns challenges, especially this year, we’re seeing that most retail challenges shops face this holiday season are symptomatic of larger-scale issues. 

Some of these challenges come down to short staffing, inventory chokeholds in the supply chain, and of course, not having a comprehensive, automated returns management system. 

Watch the full webinar.

Post-purchase experience is a must, no longer a differentiator

Now more than ever, convenience and choice are synonymous with shopping, both in brick and mortar stores and online.

The complete experience is important for shoppers—pre-purchase, during purchase, and post-purchase are all equally important this holiday season and beyond. 

Before they buy something, shoppers must feel that they have enough clarity and information to commit to that item (which is where tools like virtual dressing rooms come into play).

During the purchase itself, shoppers should feel that the checkout process is easy and secure. And after they’ve purchased their item, shoppers (and the folks they’re gifting your products to) should get to enjoy a seamless, delightful returns experience. 

In fact, 31% of shoppers this year will return at least one of their gifts. If you’re not catering to this group of new shoppers who might be interacting with your brand for the first time, you’re leaving money on the table (and making a bad first impression with a new shopper who might grow to become one of your most loyal customers).

Because they want their loved ones to be able to get what they want during the holiday season, 96% of shoppers look at the details of a brand’s return policy before shopping with them.

For these reasons and more, having a comprehensive, smart returns management system like Loop is key for retaining revenue this holiday season and beyond.

Watch the full webinar.

When presenting your returns policy during the holiday season: 

  • DO be upfront and clear about your returns policy.
  • DO extend your returns window during the holiday season and after so that gift recipients have ample time to make an exchange.
  • DO incentivize your shoppers to make cost-effective choices when returning their products. 
  • DON’T make returns difficult for your shoppers. 
  • DON’T be unclear about your return policy. 
  • DON’T simply think of post-purchase as a loss center.

Brands facing headwinds should focus on returns

So how do you provide a great, cost-effective return experience during a time of economic downturn?

It might feel counterintuitive to make returns easier for your shoppers when revenue retention is more important than ever.

During and immediately after the holiday season especially, it’s key that your shoppers can easily make returns and exchanges with your brand—nothing is more frustrating than trying to exchange a sweater you’ve gotten three of because your relatives know you love it, only to find that the process of returning it is a headache in itself. 

Where this shopper would have likely traded out their sweater for the same sweater in a different color from your store (or for something else they love from your store), the prospect of having to deal with a manual, clunky returns process is likely to turn them off from making the exchange—and leave a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to shopping with you again.

Not only are customer retention and revenue retention important reasons to focus on returns during the holiday season, but choosing the right returns management solution can help improve your returns logistics internally, too.

Shopify merchants who use Loop not only offer the most complete return experience, they also gain the benefit of automated returns and have access to key data insights regarding the kinds of returns their shoppers tend to make.

These insights can help your brand plan out inventory needs and decide whether more information is necessary during pre-purchase. For example, if a shirt tends to run small, you can mention that in the item’s product description and help prevent future returns. 

These are just a few ways that a returns management software like Loop can help your brand handle the chaos of returns season, and keep you prepared for what’s to come in the rest of 2023. 

Watch the full webinar.

Want to provide a seamless returns experience to your shoppers without sacrificing cost-effectiveness? Loop can help. Book a demo today.