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Jim Agger
 
June 30, 2014 | Jim Agger

4 Tips for Reducing Wine Returns

No matter how good your online wine store is, you will occasionally need to process returns. Whether consumers changed their minds upon receiving their parcels, want to send a gift back or accidentally ordered the wrong item, the logistics of returns can be a major hassle for retailers. However, returns can be used as an opportunity to build customer satisfaction when they are handled properly. Here are some tips for managing returns better and reducing the overall number:

1. Have a clear return policy listed in a visible spot on your website
One of the easiest ways to decrease returns and reduce confusion is to be explicit about your policy. Customers aren't likely to buy from you again when there's ambiguity about a return, according to Entrepreneur. If shoppers can only send wine back for a limited time, make sure you include the deadline in the policy. It may be helpful to list this information on product pages as well as during checkout. Place a packing slip in the packaging with information - or better yet, a return label - in case customers need to send something back. This prevents them from having to dig around your website to find what they need.

2. Speedy ecommerce fulfillment
Customers may return a package because it took too long to arrive, and they were able to find the same product somewhere else - without having to pay for shipping, Parcel Industry pointed out. In fact, outsourcing wine shipping to a third-party provider can help you send parcels out the same day you receive the order. While speed is important for meeting customers' needs, orders have to be accurate as well. Errors are a major reason for returns, so an integrated point of sale, inventory and fulfillment system can help you increase accuracy without sacrificing speed.

3. Don't pretend returns won't happen
Even though returns aren't ideal, customers will be frustrated if they can't send merchandise back, Entrepreneur suggested. You need to have staff members in place to manage this task, as well as allow enough time. If there's only a short window, shoppers may not be able to return unwanted items, especially during busy times of year like the holiday season. For example, if the window is only 30 days and the item was a gift, people may not be able to send it back in time. 

4. Communicate delays
Going back to speed, if there are going to be any unforeseen delays, let customers know right away. It can keep them from buying the item somewhere else, Parcel Industry stated. It's also a good idea to inform purchasers when their items have shipped so they know when to expect them. Communication is a simple step, but it can make customers more satisfied overall. They will appreciate the update if their parcels will be arriving outside the scheduled timeframe. This won't prevent people from buying from you again if it's communicated in the right way. 

Contact a fulfillment specialist to learn more about how WineDirect's fulfillment solutions can accommodate the complex needs of your winery.

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