Tech Tips: Handling refunds

A crucial opportunity to build loyalty and keep your customers satisfied after their first purchase and beyond.

At first glance, it may seem like a typical ecommerce customer journey begins at discovery and ends when a product is shipped to a customer. The truth is, successful businesses are thinking well beyond the shipping of the initial product. In fact, the journey begins before the customer even visits their site and doesn’t end until the customer is satisfied with the purchase. A crucial part of a successful journey is a merchant’s ability to handle returns and refunds when a customer isn’t satisfied with the product. Handling returns and refunds gracefully could be the difference between a good and great customer experience.

Minimising returns

Before we step into processing returns, let’s clarify how we can minimise returns with these easy updates

  • Are the product descriptions and specifications adequate for the customer to make an informed purchase?
  • Is the customer given enough opportunity to confirm the product specific selections (like size, gender, colour, model)? When necessary, ensure the customer selects all variants of a product, rather than pre-selection
  • Understand your existing return reasons to take any corrective actions necessary. It always helps to reach out to the customer asking for the reason of their return request

Customer speaks

As much as a merchant may want to limit their returns, when initiated, a return is an opportunity for the merchant to demonstrate how much they value customer satisfaction.

According to Nation Retail Federation (NRF) research, in the US, 92% of the customers will buy again if returns are easy and are likely to spend 50% more when buying after an easy return.1

Customer Shops / returns everywhere

Online returns are traditionally completed via a shipping vendor like FedEx, UPS or USPS. The current omni-channel model, called BORIS (Buy Online Return In Store), allows merchants to start accepting online returns. BORIS is an efficient alternative, making returns easy for the customer, as well as saving shipping costs for both the merchant and customer. Enabling BORIS would also make exchanges easy for the customer, when the intent is not a return, but an exchange.

Returns without Receipt

Most retailers who did not adopt an omni-channel return experience use different systems for brick-and-mortar and online store returns. This changes the return and exchange experience for a customer, since the receipts are not interchangeable.

According to NRF research, 21.1% of the non-receipted returns in USA are fraudulent.1

Without interchangeable receipts, or when a customer enters without a receipt, the merchant needs to be able to tie a transactions to the customer.

Amazon Pay and Refunds

This brings us to how Amazon Pay handles refunds. First, a refund can be initiated at any time with Amazon Pay transactions. While handling returns online or at a store, the Amazon Pay Transaction ID can be used to link the purchase to a customer. This enables the merchants who accept returns Online or In-Store (with or without receipt) to remove any friction their customer may face during the return process. Furthermore, a merchant may refund up to 15% or 75 USD/GBP/EUR (whichever is less) above the the captured amount to the customer to cover the return costs or as a goodwill gesture.

For more information and best practices on refunds, please visit Amazon Pay Documentation. As you are evaluating payment solutions to help streamline your return and refund process, consider Amazon Pay. Our service provides a quick, easy way for hundreds of millions of Amazon customers around the world to access a trusted, secure way to pay, using the same address and billing details in their Amazon account on third party sites and stores. Learn more.

1NRF & Appriss Retail, Consumer returns in the retail industry report, 2018.