I wonder if there is anyone that doesn’t mind sending a product back to the store. Personally, I don’t actually do it… even though there have been times where I wish I had. Instead, those undesirable goods stack up like towers of disappointment.
Pre-apocalyptic levels of ecommerce returns varied between 25-30% among shoppers – that’s an average of around $10-20 per item. Yet in the last year, with the majority of us shopping online, online returns increased a huge 70%.
Like many other aspects of doing business over the last 12 months, such as digital capabilities and customer communication, order management systems have had to be shaken up and strengthened to handle the weight of greater web traffic and boost their abilities to deal with larger order requests.
For those shameless shoppers that do return items, there can be a lot of annoying barriers between wanting to return an item and actually returning an item.
Here is a typical example: one millisecond after clicking buy, and being greeted by banners and balloons thanking you for your order, you’re already regretting the decision. During those two days that it takes to reach the door, all you can think about is wanting to return it (it even haunts your dreams so much that you check your order at 3am but it’s too late to cancel it).
Alas, your package arrives and immediately email the company to ask for a return label. A few minutes pass… hours… days. Nothing. So what do you do? You head to the brand’s ecommerce site to get in touch with customer support. But there’s no chatbot functionality. You don’t really want to talk to a real person on the phone – because phones are not for talking. (We rarely call people any more, and we only pick up the phone half of the time we get a call.) Even if you do phone you’ll probably be put on hold for an infinite amount of time. So you end up keeping the undesirable object and relegate it to an oft’ forgotten drawer.
If this is your experience in 2021, then that brand is truly failing at the basics of being a 21st century brand. At the other end of the spectrum, there are brands that provide seamless and unified customer experiences across platforms, so that if you want to reach out to a brand, you can have that conversation on pretty much any platform, and continue the convo on multiple platforms.
These brands, of course, use best-in-class order management systems in order to do this. Order management systems like Salesforce Order Management, so that customer-brand communication is easy, hassle-free, and fast.
… Actually let’s take a look at some of the strengths of Salesforce Order Management when it comes to how it handles returns.
Selling experiences rather than products
The actual stuff that you sell is important – the quality and range of products so a long way to forging your reputation. But what has become as important as ever is the customer experience that a brand provides. In fact, 80% of consumers say that experience is as important as the products themselves.
With this in mind, how does Salesforce Order Management manage to center the customer in how it delivers ecommerce experiences both during purchase and post-purchase?
The F word
The platform enables flexibility when it comes to shipping and delivery options, and returns processes, offering customers a range of options in which they are able to choose from. Options such as weekend delivery, or more urgent same-day delivery, or click and collect services so that customers can shop online and pick it up in-store, or split shipments so that customers can direct item orders to different locations – perhaps you’re buying two products: one for you, and one for your brother who lives in another state.
Flexibility. Flexibility. Flexibility. Even with returns. We should be able to print out our own returns label, as well as be able to track our returns online with a simple click. Salesforce Order Management enables introverts like myself to be able to return items without having to speak to another real-life person.
The platform ensures that your customers can self-serve: checking the status of their orders, receiving updates via whatever channel they prefer, as well as changing shipping details if required.
If they want to return an item, SF Order Management is able to provide clever chatbots that are ready and waiting to help customers day or night. (The good thing about robots is that they are not covered by any basic level of universal rights, so they are free to work 24/7.)
What SF Order Management does really well here is that it can provide automated chatbots that, if struggling with a human request, can quickly switch to a human agent, who already possesses the relevant customer data and can wrap up the request.
Show the entire view
Salesforce Order Management provides a retailer’s workforce with a holistic view of customers, so that wherever there is an interaction between customer and brand, all of your customer-facing staff are connected to the customer’s data, giving them a unified view of who the customer is.
When you smoothen ecommerce experiences and loosen the friction between a customer and brand, you are setting strong foundations for better customer relationships and boosting loyalty.