What is E-commerce Returns Management


Returns management, also called reverse logistics, is the process of exchanging or returning products. The reverse logistics process involves products being sent back to their origin warehouse for exchange and reselling. Moreover, reverse logistics is managed partly by customer support, inventory management, and logistics support. And the returns process belongs to logistics operations beyond the final delivery. Customers may return products due to damage, wrong product delivery, change of mind, or the need for exchange, making a returns policy crucial to attract customers in today’s e-commerce practices.

Since more than 20% of products get returned globally, it is vital to set up a comprehensive returns management system to support your e-commerce venture. Finally, businesses have turned to multi-carrier managed by intelligent shipment tracking software powered by automation tools and AI-Powered engines to manage critical operations like reverse logistics. So, here is a list of 5 golden rules that would make up for a successful e-commerce returns management system.

Five golden rules of e-commerce returns management

Returns management can rack up costs quickly, and if not done efficiently, it would end up tarnishing your business’s reputation, invariably affecting customer loyalty.

1. Creating a Precise Returns Policy

A return policy is the terms of conditions that apply for returning or exchanging products. This policy can cover return, refund, exchange, and shipping policies for products returned by the customers. If, as a business, you can set a clear and concise returns policy, reverse logistics can be managed efficiently without any hassle. With over 70% of customers looking for a returns policy, some of the essential aspects of returns policy would be:

  • The number of days a return policy is applicable after final delivery.
  • What are the products that are covered under returns policy
  • Reimbursement, whether it will be offered in payment or credit.
  • How fast is the refund process estimated to be?
  • In case of an exchange, how many days would it take?
  • Does the seller cover shipping?
  • Mention returns policy specific to products on discount.

2. Understanding the cost involved in returns management

Fundamentally, you should be thorough about your product costing so that it also includes the possibility of expenses for the return or exchange of products. The additional costs involved in reverse logistics would be picking, packing, and reverse logistics for returning the product to the origin warehouse. If not appropriately calculated, your company would be dissipating money through your returns management, and your profit margin would take a heavy hit. As for customer service, providing product tracking and attending to customer queries would also be of immense importance in managing reverse logistics.

3. Multi-Carriers and Shipping Tracking Software Simplify Returns Management

Not all carriers handle the returns process efficiently so, using different carriers for reverse logistics would keep the end-to-end supply chain very smooth. And a shipping tracking software provides dynamic support in managing multiple carriers simultaneously with separate portals for returns management. Your business can monitor and analyze all the shipping data to improve operations and avoid unnecessary expenses. Shipping tracking software also simplifies the pick-up of returned products by empowering customers to initiate reverse logistics through automated solutions.

4. Shipping Tracking Visibility Puts the Customers Mind at Ease

Shipping tracking software is configured with API integrations to provide end-to-end visibility with real-time tracking and customer notifications for returned products. This versatile feature offers a satisfying post-purchase service experience to retain and attract more customers. And an essential feature in today’s e-commerce practices with many people demanding shipping visibility for their orders.

5. Offering Automated customer support and optimized pick-up services

Multi-carrier shipping or shipping tracking software offers automated customer support through Autobots that empower customers to manage their order queries, considerably reducing WISMO calls. Additionally, shipping tracking software enables customers to optimize pick-up services for returning products according to their convenience. Furthermore, your business can utilize this software to customize returns policy for the return and exchange of various products.

6. Other important aspects in returns management

  • Making sure the returned products are checked for quality when they are picked up from the customer is paramount in reverse logistics. And this has to be taken care of by the carrier designated for reverse logistics.
  • Reimbursement in case of refund should be carried out quickly to sustain the customer’s loyalty.
  • Managing inventory consistently to allow quick exchanges of products and delivery.
  • Always analyze returns operations to improve your business operations.


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