Consistently offering a great customer experience has been proven to positively impact your bottom line. There are endless ways to improve customer experience, but in this article, we’re going to focus on the in-store return process, more specifically, how to make it easier on shoppers.

Before we dive in, remember not to associate “returns” with “lost sales.” Making it simple to return merchandise can significantly reduce customer churn: 92% of consumers will buy from you again if returns are easy. Here are three ways to make returns a snap.

Allow online returns in brick-and-mortar stores

If your brand has entered the e-commerce space, chances are you’ve processed a lofty number of online returns. Consumers return nearly 30% of all merchandise purchased online, and that number swells to almost 40% for clothing. Online shopping habits are a contributing factor: people buy multiple sizes, colors, and styles of things, planning on returning items that don’t work out. But when it comes to making those returns, online shoppers want the same experience they would have if they were shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.

Manually shipping items back to distribution centers delays refunds to customers by several days. In an age where most everything is immediate, people want refunds “now.” Accepting online returns in-store is a guaranteed way to take unwanted merchandise off shoppers’ hands and refund their money in a timely matter. Customers will be happy to have cash in their pocket, and you won’t have to pay return shipping. Also, as Steve Dennis, a retail strategic advisor said, “Not only are handling costs typically lower, but–surprise, surprise!–driving store traffic often leads to incremental sales.”

Choose the right place for your customer service desk

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to retail store footprints, but you should pay particular attention to the placement of your customer service desk. Not only is the desk an essential fixture for retail stores, but employees who facilitate returns there are regularly given valuable opportunities to offer personalized experiences. And according to a 2015 survey, nearly 60%of shoppers value in-store experiences for the tailored services they provide.

When you’re evaluating where to place customer service, keep your customers’ shopping habits at the top of mind. Home Depot is a great example. Folks who shop at home improvement stores don’t browse leisurely, because they typically have a project to get back to. Making a return could easily be a time-consuming hindrance to visitors, but Home Depot responded the “get in-and-out ASAP” shopper attitude by positioning the customer service desk immediately inside the doors. So customers can make quick, efficient returns, and they still receive the personal experience offered throughout the rest of the store.

Install package lockers

Package lockers aren’t just a click-and-collect solution for retailers — they’re also a user-friendly tool for facilitating returns. Customers have the flexibility to return items at their convenience, and you don’t have to worry about losing out on your chance to “wow” them.

Using package lockers for returns is simple. Customers print off a label and then place it in a locker that they open using a QR code, barcode, or PIN. Your employees can process returns as time allows. You can even customize package lockers with your logo, brand colors, or images and place them outside for 24/7 pick-up/drop-off convenience. A handy tool for both employees and customers, package lockers are a guaranteed way to enhance the customer experience. As an added bonus, retailers are reporting increased foot traffic and “micro” visits to their stores when they have lockers installed.

Interested in learning more about package lockers for your retail space? Contact us to learn more about Smiota PoDs.

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