5 Ways to improve your return process

5 Ways to improve your return processWritten by Oliver Trunkett for ShippingEasy

Returns get a lot of coverage in the e-commerce stats world, as they should. Sellers large and small typically have a returns process in place, however many sellers can benefit from improving certain aspects of their returns process, leading to more loyal customers and long-term revenue benefits.

Online buyers return at a rate of 30% compared to retail’s 8% (source: Invesp infographic). While this may seem alarming, many web-only retailers can have extremely low return rates as a majority of returns in the industry are concentrated around apparel sales. Logically, this trend makes sense. As online shoppers can’t try on the clothes first, they can’t be sure the items will fit which can lead to a return. Despite the compelling stats for apparel, all e-commerce merchants should consider an easy return policy. Nailing returns has great benefits like increasing customer loyalty and shopping experience satisfaction. Huge online retailers like Zappos built their entire business on fast shipping and easy returns. In this post we’ll go over a few ways to boost your entire returns process to reap these benefits.5 ways to improve #ecommerce returns by @ShippingEasy (hint: automation is one of them)… Click To Tweet

1. Make sure your orders are accurate
This may sound simple, but many returns are not because customers don’t actually want what they ordered, but because they received the wrong order entirely. This is actually fairly common in the e-commerce world – customers will often receive an incomplete order, the wrong order, or merchandise from a website they’ve never visited (due to recipient address errors). To ensure that orders fulfilled are accurate and go to the correct destination, I suggest removing the capacity for manual errors by automating as much of the shipping process as you can through integrated shipping software. Software enables you to pull in orders as the customers entered them, validate addresses, generate pick lists to guarantee you’re grabbing the right item from your inventory, and generate packing slips to double check the order has everything inside the box.

2. Have a solid return/refund policy on your website
Clarify specifically which items you only offer partial refunds to or don’t offer refunds at all. A personal tip: If you don’t offer a refund on a specific item, give an explanation to shoppers why you don’t. The extra effort to explain the restricted policy goes a long way. When creating a return policy, it’s easiest to find a tool that can build your policy for you (like Shopify’s free return policy generator – which doesn’t require a Shopify login). These tools will build a working return policy based on parameters you enter.  You’ll receive the groundwork for your perfect return policy which you and then edit further to more closely match your product offerings. This article from TermsFeed goes over many qualities that make a good returns policy and how having one can positively affect your sales. These qualities include: set a lengthy returns period to account for restocking and refunding, offer free returns, look at why items are being returned in an effort to fix it, and more.

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Introducing Unify for ShippingEasy

Remove the hassle of e-commerce bookkeeping by integrating shipping and accounting

Introducing Unify for ShippingEasyToday we’re thrilled to introduce Unify for ShippingEasy! This new offering will free online retailers from the hassle of bookkeeping for a multi-channel shipping operation by automating sales data and integrating it into their accounting solutions. Webgility’s industry-leading Unify software already makes it easy for sellers to build their business on any shopping cart or marketplace by connecting all revenue streams, expenses, and systems to have better perspective, make smarter decisions, lower costs, and simplify bookkeeping. Now, with Unify for ShippingEasy, e-commerce sellers can also vastly simplify shipping, even in their busiest seasons.Unify for ShippingEasy integrates #shipping and #accounting: Hassle-free!… Click To Tweet

We think CEO of ShippingEasy Katie May put it best when she said, “Like ShippingEasy, Webgility is focused on streamlining e-commerce operations, and we are pleased to partner with them to take the accounting pain point out of shipping. Together, we will help online stores reach new levels of operational efficiency to help them increase profits.”

There are three main features of the new Unify for ShippingEasy:

  • Accounting Sync: Unify for ShippingEasy allows businesses to achieve timely, accurate, and tax-compliant accounting. Stores can schedule and post all of their e-commerce sales and shipping information from ShippingEasy directly into QuickBooks or Xero. Users can choose to post individual sales or daily summaries while instantly closing the loop on their accounting activities by recording sales revenue, product costs, and shipping expenses within their accounting system for easy, complete reconciliation.
  • Shipping Automation: Online stores can use Unify for ShippingEasy to consolidate orders from multiple sales channels, including all major marketplaces and platforms. This allows them to streamline workflows for accounting, order management, fulfillment, shipping, and inventory management, and enables instant cost comparisons between carriers based on type of product, weight, and geography.
  • Multi-channel Selling: Unify for ShippingEasy helps companies easily increase their profits by having the opportunity to consider different marketplaces, sales channels, and platforms. The solution gives them confidence that their entire multi-channel business is seamlessly integrated with timely, accurate, and organized accounting. This unified perspective brings companies unprecedented control of their financial data and profit margins.

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Announcing the e-Commerce Ecosystem

e-Commerce EcosystemBest-in-class systems working together to build a better business for you

As you know, online retail is much like the brick-and-mortar experience, albeit in a virtual world. The shelves need to be stocked. The inventory needs to be updated across all online stores and marketplaces. Of course, the online buyer doesn’t carry out the product, so shipping and order fulfillment are added into the mix. And to up the ante a bit, the buyer’s experience better be positive, because the instant gratification of sharing an online review—good or bad—is just a click away.Now #sellers can build #ecommerce businesses that last and grow. #Unify #ecosystem Click To Tweet

While online retail is often thought of as the land of opportunity, the speed at which e-commerce has developed has flooded the industry with tools meant to solve for every challenge. Nowadays, every necessary function of selling comes with its own SaaS application, desktop software, or platform—point of sale, shopping carts, and marketplaces; bookkeeping and accounting; email marketing and customer relationship management; payment processing; shipping and fulfillment; and inventory and warehouse management to name just a few. Without each of these vital tools, a business doesn’t exist, but running back and forth between these disconnected applications can exhaust and frustrate even the most enthusiastic seller.

The resulting side effect of this well-intended overcorrection is commonly known as app fatigue. In its mildest form, this unfortunate state of SMB chaos simply dampens the joy of selling online, and at its most severe and tragic, app fatigue causes dreaded e-commerce burnout. Sound familiar? Continue reading

How to scale internationally with no warehouse footprint

How to scale internationally with no warehouse footprintGrowth is great for business, it means more opportunities, more partnerships, and more more sales

Due to complicated logistics, expansion is also one of the biggest risks of online businesses. For e-commerce stores looking to expand, international markets are prime opportunities. Countries like Germany and Brazil also have some of the fastest growing markets in the world, which makes them a tempting target for expansion. Buyers in certain countries may also be unable to source American products locally, and turn to international sellers to fill their needs. If your brand manufactures a unique product, there may be more international demand than you expected.

International markets are exciting and full of potential, but they also present expenses that could make or break your profits. The largest of those is international logistics; Warehousing, shipping, customs, and other costs. You can overcome these expenses by making smart choices for logistics partners, shipping solutions, and scaling at a reasonable pace. Many e-commerce businesses can scale internationally with no warehouse footprint, and greatly reduce the costs and risks of expanding into a new market. Without warehousing costs, even small businesses could successfully expand into new markets without the traditional risks.

Research your opportunities
Analytics: The first step into expanding is to ascertain demand in your new target markets. It doesn’t matter how affordable the logistics are if there’s no demand. It is crucial that you spend a significant amount of time in market research before expanding into any new channel. This is doubly true for international sales, which present more risks than moving to a new sales channel or selling in another state. If you want to succeed, take the time to identify your market demand, marketing opportunities, your target audience, potential consumers, and your international channels and opportunities. Read more

Carrier Rate Increases for 2017

Every January, following the rush—both of the adrenaline and time varieties—of the holiday season, carrier rates see a price hike. This year is no different and we’re thrilled to bring you the updates, thanks to our partner ShipStation. They’ve tackled each of the big three carriers in the United States.

UPS RATE INCREASES

  • Package Services, effective December 26, 2016
    • Expect UPS Ground services to increase by an average of 4.9%.
    • Expect UPS Air and International services to increase by an average of 4.9%.
    • If your package’s longest side is over 48 inches (formerly 60 inches), the Additional Handling charge will be added to UPS Air and International packages.
    • Come February 6, 2017, the fuel surcharge will be adjusted weekly.
    • Retail rates and SurePost rates will also be increasing on December 26. Click here to see the new retail rates and the additional handling surcharge will apply to SurePost starting January 8, 2017.
    • Click here to see how certain surcharges will be changing.

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