4 Shopify Apps that Streamline your Return Process
Customer returns may be important for brick-and-mortar stores looking to boost loyalty and create long-term customers, but they’re essential for eCommerce brands. Unlike brick-and-mortar retailers, customers can’t hold, feel, and try out your products before they click “Buy Now.” So, some of your customers are going to receive the item, and it’s not going to live up the fantasy they’ve concocted in their brains. It’s only natural. In fact, we would call it the price of doing digital business.
Luckily, creating a fluid return process is easier than ever. For eCommerce brands that use Shopify, setting up customer returns may be as simple as adding an app from the Shopify App Store to your website. Here are 4 Shopify Apps that make returns a breeze.
The Importance of Returns
For some eCommerce brands, returns may seem like a net negative. After all, 48% of online shoppers returned an item last year. Plus, return losses equal around 10% of net sales yearly — to the tune of $369 billion globally. However, having a well-structured return process is a massive boon for your eCommerce brand in the long run.
92% of shoppers say they will buy from a merchant again if the return process was easy. In fact, over 60% of customers actively read your return policy before they make a purchase. What are they looking for? They’re looking for an easy return process.72% of online customers want their returns in 5 days or less, and 88% of customers will stop doing business with you if your returns take too long. Given the fact that over 60% of the average eCommerce brand’s business comes from return customers, your returns policy can literally make-or-break your business.
Here’s the problem. According to An Internet Retailer study of 30 of America’s leading eCommerce brands, the average eCommerce store takes 8 days to issue credits, and many take much longer. While it can be easy to dismiss returns as revenue leakage, properly handling returns can help your business grow. You want repeat business, and you certainly want satisfied customers.
Here are some Shopify apps that will help you outpace your competitors and give customers returns on-time, every time.
1. AfterShip Returns Center
As the most downloaded return app on the Shopify App Store, AfterShip Returns Center is a favorite among eCommerce stores. It provides an easy-to-use interface where you can set up self-service returns for customers. Not only can customers go in and process returns, but you can see all returns under one interface and automatically issue credits via an automated return cost calculator. AfterShip supports original payment refunds, gift cards (Spotify Plus only), and exchanges on pre-paid labels and return-to-store exchanges (for eCommerce brands with brick-and-mortar stores).
- Easy to use
- Return center is branded to look like your store
- Automates emails
- Nice-to-have return calculator
- Offers Shopify Plus gift card integration
- Prices start at $9.00 per/month, but you have to pay for returns over a very strict (and somewhat tiny) limit.
- No reporting features
- No robust automation features forces you to log into a portal to issue returns.
2. Return Magic
When it comes to automation, Return Magic is a serious contender among the Shopify return apps. You can automate labels, approvals, emails, gift cards, and more. In addition, it has a rules engine that lets you personalize every customer’s return experience based on certain requirements (like returns due to specific reasons.) With tons of integration features, plenty of carrier support, and an experienced team of devs backing the app, this is often the go-to for bigger brands. There are two big downsides. First, it’s expensive. If you only process a few returns, prices can get as high as $1 per return. Even with bulk returns, the prices are often higher than some of the other listed apps. Second, it doesn’t support exchanges.
- Tons of built-in automation features
- Rules-based engine
- 50+ carriers supported
- Lots of integrations via the API
- No exchanges
- High price
- Difficult to setup initially
3. Returnly: Returns & Exchanges
Are you willing to sacrifice price to never lift a finger? Returnly is nearly 100% automated, has an incredible branded portal, is self-service, uses tons of rich analytics to improve processes iteratively, and has a nifty in-line return feature. That being said, it can get expensive. Plans start at $59 per/month, and they only go up from there. However, you get some serious return power for the price.
- Tons of reporting features that can help you track and analyze products with high return rates
- Incredible 3PL automation capabilities will take over your returns process
- REST API
- Lots of integration capabilities
- Return routing & smart return policies help reduce process frictions
- Has hidden fees
4. Bold Returns
Another popular return app on the store, Bold Returns, is the jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none. It has automation features, but they’re not as robust as Returnly or limited as AfterShip. It also has a rules-based engine that you can customize. Still, the customization process is long-winded, and reviews point towards it being incredibly difficult to navigate on the merchant side. While it may not seem important, BOLD manages a bunch of other apps on the Shopify App Store (18 at last count). This could have an impact on their ability to handle customer support questions.
- Decent automation capabilities for return labels
- The rules-based engine allows for some variable customization
- Customized & branded portal
- You can customize automated emails to an extent
- Can’t automate the actual gift card and credit aspect of returns
- BOLD manages lots of apps
- Difficult setup
Creating a fluid return process is just one part of the user experience puzzle for eCommerce brands. You want a highly-customized, fully-branded website that’s easy-to-navigate and filled with rich features, like returns. We can help. Future Holidays helps eCommerce brands build hyper-branded websites, brand strategies, prototypes, and UX dominance. Are you ready to go beyond the product and deliver a brand to every customer’s door? Contact us. Let’s build your digital identity together.