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By Returnalyze on September 08, 2022

Accurately Measuring Returns for E-commerce Retailers - Returnalyze

Measuring returns is a fairly straightforward process for e-commerce retailers, right? Products are shipped out, some products are sent back, and you hope the amount returned is significantly less than the amount sold. Seems pretty simple. 

However, many e-commerce retailers are woefully over-simplifying this process. There is so much to measure and track when it comes to e-commerce returns, and a wealth of information is waiting to be unearthed from the data! Your own returns data presents incredible insights to your business, including what is being returned, and more importantly, why? 

That doesn’t mean that the process has to be overly-complicated, though. That’s where we come in. We help retailers take control of their returns by discerning between them, and we empower our retail-partners to apply actionable insight to their business – elevating customer experience, improving operational efficiency, and ultimately reducing returns.

But first, it’s imperative that the returns are accurately measured. 


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Discernment is Key

At Returnalyze, we’re dedicated to differentiating between types of returns, and preventing unnecessary returns from occurring in the first place. 

So, discernment of returns is key for our retail-partners, especially those who are operating e-commerce stores. NRF (National Retail Foundation) reports that online returns in recent years average more than 20%, and comes to the tune of about $218 billion. We help retailers leverage these returns and use the data to their advantage, and take action over their returns and results.

When examining returns, it’s important to differentiate between the various ways to measure the data. You might be looking at returns over a certain period of time, measuring by operational load, correlating returns to their original return date, or simply reviewing your return rates as a total, to name a few. 

Each of these measurements represent different outcomes, and offer varying insights related to your business. But if you’re not looking at the returns data accurately, you’re missing out on incredibly valuable information.

Let’s say that in reviewing your e-commerce return rates, you notice that the return rate for January of 2022 was 10% lower than the return rate in January of 2021. That’s good news, right? Well, not quite. If you look at returns by return date alone and notice a difference in percentage, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the change in return rate is accurate. If your average time to return is 30 days, then as much as 75% of the returns for the last month haven’t come in yet. You’re not quite seeing the complete picture. 

On the flip side, you may notice that your e-commerce return rate has skyrocketed in one particular month. Is that a bad thing? Probably not – if you’re looking at returns by return date instead of order date. Perhaps sales that month were low while returns were high, due to a spike in sales over the same period. Without differentiating between these returns measurements, the data appears to be skewed and the full scope of your returns is missed. 

That’s why the services provided through our partnership are so relevant to the retailers we work with. 

At Returnalyze, we utilize multiple metrics to give a more accurate picture of return trends. We’re helping our retail-partners understand and measure multiple points of reference, such as returns over time and returns at certain points in time. We can measure the seven-day rolling rate, and also measure at weekly, monthly, and yearly intervals. Additionally, we’re helping retailers examine their returns from both an operational perspective, by return date, and from a commercial perspective, by order date. 

By looking at the returns data from multi-dimensional perspectives, we have a unique ability to explore product attributes, exchanges, customer reviews, and so much more for our retail-partners. And all of this information is available on our dashboard with a single click of a button.

Unfortunately, though, you may not be differentiating your returns data at all. In fact, only about one in three retailers prioritize managing their returns. These retailers simply lack the visibility of their detailed returns data, which would empower them with accurate business insight.

Data analytics provided by your own returns can offer a multitude of solutions for issues faced by your business, and help you discern between, reduce, and predict your returns.


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What E-Commerce Retailers Need

Whether an e-commerce retailer is prioritizing their returns management or not, their own process of reverse logistics is happening. After all, it’s nearly impossible to be a retailer and not offer returns. But in today’s commercial environment, it’s impractical for retailers to not have an operational return process – reverse logistics – in place. 

Reverse logistics refers to the supply chain process that diverts inventory back to a retailer’s warehouse or facility to be resold, reused, or refurbished. If a customer is returning a pair of shoes they ordered from your e-commerce store, for instance, reverse logistics would bring the unwanted shoes back to your store.

And with 20.8% of e-commerce products now finding their way back to the retailer, the growing reverse logistics market is slated to be an 821.55 billion dollar industry by 2025. 

If you’re an e-commerce retailer, you can’t ignore these figures. You need the knowledge provided by your own returns data to determine appropriate solutions for your unique scenarios. You’ll be improving your bottom line, spending less on reverse logistics, and elevating your business, too.

And like we’ve mentioned, the process doesn’t have to be overly-complicated. 

Our in-depth dashboard provides detailed analytics to our retail-partners in a user-friendly fashion. Plus, we’re working alongside our partners every step of the way, offering guidance on the data findings. With our partnership, retailers are accurately measuring their returns, and are able to take immediate action to see returns reductions. That means significantly less inventory diverting back to the retailer, less inventory going through the reverse logistics process.


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Beyond Measuring Returns

Returnalyze enables brands to have control over their returns by discerning between them, and we empower our retail-partners to apply actionable insight to multiple levels of their business. 

So, we’re going way beyond simply measuring returns.

With one intelligent dashboard, we're guiding retailers to understand every aspect of their returns data. Access to our platform allows our retail-partners to track their returns and explore all of the specifics. Our dashboard analyzes trends, finds outliers, and measures the impacts on business. Retailers pinpoint delays in their supply chain, discover defective products, predict high-return items, and more.

Additionally, predictive models provided by our dashboard allow retailers to anticipate their returns issues and work to prevent them, and we help to uncover various methods of leveraging the data in ways that are beneficial to a retailer's business. Our retail-partners are not just measuring and predicting their returns – they're improving their customer experience and their bottom line.

To find out how a partnership with Returnalyze can help you accurately measure your returns, discern between them, and apply actionable insights to your business, reach out to our team or schedule a demo today.

Published by Returnalyze September 8, 2022