The Importance of Returns Management
Dale Sharpe
June 14, 2024


Returns management is an important process in day-to-day fulfilment operations. It involves correctly and efficiently processing returns which in turn benefits both the business and the customer.


An effective returns process will result in customers receiving refunds quicker, which in turn will make them feel more comfortable ordering from your business again as they know if need to return an item, it will be dealt with quickly. From a business point of view, returned items in a saleable condition can be placed back onto shelves efficiently to be resold. Or, if they’re not in a saleable condition, they can either be cleaned/fixed or disposed of, this will stop the unused stock from clogging up work areas.

Many businesses also include either a Returns Policy or a Refund Policy or both. A returns policy is the conditions provided by the business that explains under what circumstances an item can be returned, such as a 30-day period once the item was purchased. A refund policy indicates the conditions under which the item has to be in to be returned, or whether the item is eligible to be returned at all. They also include the refund details such as timeframes for when the customer will receive it.

How to reduce the number of returns

There will always be items returned when you sell a product but there are a few ways to try and reduce the amount you receive. Here are a few ways that you can reduce returns:


Products need to be displayed clearly as once they’re received by the customer if they’re not what the customer is expecting, this is likely going to result in the item being returned. You can resolve this by making the image and description as clear as possible to avoid any confusion when the item arrives.


Make sure that all items are packaged correctly to avoid any damage from couriers. Damaged items will result in unhappy customers and extra costs to repackage and reship the goods, let alone the loss of a unit of stock.


Communicating with your customer regarding their return will give them peace of mind that their return is being processed. Automation can be set up to email/text the customer when the return has passed through each stage of the process, such as when it’s first received, been processed, the refund amount and when it’s due back in their bank account.


Possibly the most important way to reduce the number of returns and keep costs down is to ensure the correct items are picked and shipped to the customer. Incorrect items shipped will have a knock-on effect not just within the business but with the customer. Once an incorrect item is picked, that means the stock levels are inaccurate and don’t match the system, leading to the location being empty when the next order comes along. Once the customer confirms the incorrect item has been delivered, this needs to be collected and the correct item delivered, this incurs many delivery and collection charges that can easily be avoided. From a customer’s point of view, they will be left unhappy and may not purchase from your business again if given a bad experience, remember, first impressions are the most important.

At Bray Solutions, we use WIFI connected picking scanners that allow the team to scan the correct item when picking. The scanner can also include an image of the item required which makes it easier for the team member.

Our returns process is carried out by a dedicated team that can scan the return once it’s been received back in the warehouse. Scanning the product will bring your customer’s order up on the system. Once inspected, the team can leave notes and images regarding the order, which will send our client an email notification.

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