Online fulfillment provider ShipBob is the latest company to integrate a returns management solution, choosing as its partner Returnly—a tech firm that helps e-commerce companies accelerate returns and refunds.
In what could be a sign of e-commerce’s evolution and maturation, returns management is getting more than its share of attention these days, as third parties innovate to help online merchants gets costs under control and turn a pain point into profits.
In the online retail landscape, returns have been a sore spot for customers and businesses alike. Shoppers hate the hassle of repackaging unwanted items and making a trip to the post office or other shipping location. Plus, sometimes shoppers themselves have to absorb the cost of shipping the item back—which is money down the drain for them. For retailers, there’s pressure to offer free returns in order to keep customers happy. Then for shoppers, there’s the seemingly interminable expanse of time waiting for the return to be received and the money refunded. Retailers are quick (and happy) to take your money, the complaint goes, but notoriously slow to give it back.
It all adds up to a pretty dismal post-purchase experience—especially factoring in the unique challenge for apparel retailers dealing with customers who order multiple sizes knowing they’ll return the ones that don’t fit properly.
That’s why a number of startups have set out to reimagine returns. Happy Returns, for one, sets up in shopping malls so that e-comm “returners” are encouraged to do more browsing and buying, converting a chore into an opportunity to drive sales.
With the new partnership, merchants on the ShipBob platform will be able to automate returns, and Returnly’s financial technology lets retailers instantly issue store credit so customers can shop immediately. By settling transactions in real time, Returnly absorbs all of the customer risk, a feature that many online retailers find attractive.
ShipBob CEO Dhruv Saxena said it’s important to forge new partnerships that add value for the company’s merchant clients and help them focus on developing their businesses.