Returns in Shopify – how to automate them while contributing to increased sales and customer satisfaction.

How important are returns in eCommerce?

The current times of pandemic and consumer habit contribute to more frequent purchase decisions, often misplaced. Increased trust in online stores, new forms of payment, unavailability of malls on Sundays, fear of contagion and many other factors are increasing online sales while increasing returns. 

Scaling online businesses no longer focus only on marketing, sales, and fast delivery logistics, but also on ensuring a fast returns process. 


What are the statistics on returns by industry?

Looking through many different eCommerce reports over the past few years, the level of returns in eCommerce continues to rise and has already reached an average level of 35%. Some industries are already recording 70% returns due to the specifics of the assortment and the possibility of payment and return rights. More and more customers in the fashion industry, for example, treat online shopping as a form of “free” home fitting room, often returning the majority of items purchased. This trend seems to be stable and further optimized by the activity and availability of logistics companies.


What impact do modern forms of payment and free returns have on shopping decisions?

With the emergence of modern forms of payment based on deferred terms, more and more online shoppers are choosing to purchase additional items (different colors, different sizes, different styles), assuming in advance that they will return them. Customers do not invest their own money and are not limited by their own shopping budget, so they can purchase larger baskets. Additionally, retailers often offer free returns, which contributes to the desire to purchase more products.


Returns handling in Shopify

The current version of Shopify provides the ability to handle the return process for the online store operator only. The operator has the ability to edit the order, assigning the return request, the reason for the return, the acceptance of the return to the store and finally the order correction. This built-in process in the admin panel is neither visible nor accessible to the online store customers. For this reason, Shopify related apps are being developed to handle the return process. 


Apps on the Shopify app store – support for the returns process – are you sure?

The Shopify app store offers access to a number of apps that make the process of making a return and handling it easier. These apps are a great support for carrying out the process. However, they are one-size-fits-all apps and don’t have enough functionality to accommodate all the elements necessary for the return process. Additionally, most apps require an email address and order id in the return process. This data is entered in universal forms outside the online store pages. This process is insufficient from a CX perspective and further fails to instill trust in the store and the return process.


Returns on Shopify using a dedicated app tailored to your industry and integrated into your enterprise eCommerce ecosystem.

The solution to the unavailability of relevant apps in the Shopify app store is to implement the Custom RETURN APP, an app offered by Brand Active.


What distinguishes Brand Active’s Custom Return APP? What functionalities does the dedicated returns app provide us with on Shopify?

  • CX at the highest level – in line with current trends and consumer habits 
  • the return panel fully integrated into the Shopify customer panel, with a list of available returnable goods and other functionalities 
  • the ability to fully manage returnable items, e.g. exclusion of disposable face masks
  • full control over time to return goods by customer type (e.g. VIP customers have a longer return period)
  • calculation of the right to return based on the time of receipt of the shipment by the customer – not the time of sending 
  • full omnichannel experience: returns delivered to the store, ability to return goods purchased offline 
  • integration with a dedicated courier or parcel service, including the ability to order a drive-through to pick up a return shipment for a selected group of shoppers
  • dedicated customized communication with the customer about the return process in the customer panel, by e-mail or text message 
  • full support for external and internal return statuses for the return flow service
  • integration with external warehouse receiving returns
  • integration with ERP system through available Events, Webhooks and APIs
  • Claims process support
  • Built-in analytical module that illustrates the return process in various aspects
  • Full possibility of further integrations and functionalities thanks to MACH architecture.


All these functionalities contribute to maximum automation and acceleration of the return process for the benefit of customers and store staff.


Returns vs. customer loyalty and willingness to buy again

A business based on trust and reliability builds long-term relationships between customers and vendors. Trust is built mainly through the implementation of marketing slogans and USPs, especially by delivering on promises of delivery times and returns, also by conducting the necessary communication and providing the right tools to customers. A positive shopping experience along with a positive return experience increases loyalty and generates repeat purchases.


A properly constructed return policy and tools adapted to it is not only a statutory obligation of the seller, but also one of the elements that significantly influence purchase decisions and final sales results.

Piotr Znamirowski
Head of Business Analysis | For many years, he has been consulting and supervising implementations and integrations in the area of e-commerce. Always looking for a way to optimize and automate IT processes. Through close contact with developers, clients and their projects, it optimizes and develops their e-commerce systems. Currently, he is responsible for pre-implementation analyzes, building the architecture of future e-commerce systems.

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