Returns: a necessary evil or a handy tool for an enhanced customer experience? Whatever your personal views, it’s undeniable that the ease of a retailer’s returns offering plays a fundamental part in securing online sales. But with stock being moved around – from retailer to customer and potentially back to the retailer again – sales figures morphing due to refunds and with the difficulty of predicting when to re-stock thanks to undulating stock levels, returns can not only prove costly, but headache-inducing for retailers.
The returns industry has boomed in recent years due to the rise in online shopping and whilst offering a simple and pain-free returns process is essential for happy customers, it’s crucial that the opportunity for returns is diminished in the first place.
Although many newspaper headlines will focus on the tiny minority of customers who take advantage of a retailer’s goodwill by engaging in a fraudulent returns process, the most common reason is still an old fashioned one: mistakes. Incorrect sizing information, a lack of full and detailed item descriptions, and product data errors (often from mismatched spreadsheets during the item creation process) all add up to create an inaccurate mental picture for the customer and increase the chances of them returning the item once it’s arrived.
The Retail Solution? Easy – PIM.
But with so many varied selling channels all requiring different data specifics, the number of spreadsheets keeps increasing exponentially – and with it, the chances of further errors. However, OMIO PIM is here to help guard against this.
With OMIO PIM offering one single point of product entry, retailers can be sure that information is only entered once and before being disseminated across the various platforms on which the product is sold. This ensures all data (for instance, the type of fabric used in a shirt) that needs to be updated can be done so consistently across all channels and will be available for customers to read, wherever and however they choose to shop.
Because product data is entered right from the moment the item is created by the buying teams, the digital teams who create and write product content will have accurate information and can perform their roles more efficiently. This provides clarity and transparency across all teams that handle product data, giving a better online customer experience – and, importantly, reducing the likelihood of a customer receiving anything other than what they were expecting.
As well as ensuring that everything stated is correct, returns can be reduced by giving customers as much information as possible. This can include images of products, measurements and interactive features, as well as other data. If any of these features are left out, the chances of something not being what a customer expected is increased. OMIO PIM can ensure that all of these elements are completed before the item is made available for potential buyers to view and purchase. Essentially, it manages the product workflow, acting as an additional check to monitor that every team member has entered the relevant and correct product information before it is launched.
Retail Workflow Management with a PIM System
But OMIO PIM doesn’t just stop there. Once all the data has been gathered and each team member has completed their section, the approval of a manager is required before the public has access to the final product information. This gives a valuable chance to someone with the relevant authority to look over things and check everything is correct; following their acknowledgement that things look absolutely right, the product can then be published to the relevant selling channels.
Cutting down on returns is not only an indicator that the online customer experience is better – and making the customer happier – but that money is being saved, time isn’t being wasted and resources aren’t being spent on something which can be avoidable in many cases.