Blog Posts Making Sense of Subscription Returns

Subscription box businesses may experience a lower rate of returns than typical ecommerce businesses, but they are under just as much pressure to handle those returns quickly and cost effectively. Subscriber loyalty depends on it.

In her latest blog for Multichannel Merchant, Saddle Creek’s Director of Fulfillment Nicole Lee discusses best practices for subscription box returns.

Following is an excerpt…

Return to Sender? The Ins and Outs of Subscription Box Returns

It is critical to provide efficient, hassle-free service and prompt refunds where necessary. To facilitate this process, you’ll want to determine the fastest, most cost-effective method for handling returns. It can be helpful to consider several key factors.

Reason for return.

Many subscription companies do not accept returns unless items are high value. Therefore, the primary reason for subscription returns is the inability to deliver due to incorrect addresses when subscribers input addresses incorrectly, relocate, etc.

Subscription companies that sell full-size products or add-ons via an ecommerce channel may be more likely to accept returns for a variety of reasons.

Address accuracy.

Since the majority of returns are due to bad addresses, some companies choose to tackle the problem at its source. The most common solution is to invest in address-checking technology.

Basic software is available to check for valid delivery zip codes at checkout. More sophisticated options provide the subscriber with an alternate, approved mailing address if it appears to have been input incorrectly. While this can help to minimize errors, it does extend the checkout process.

Reasoning that subscribers will be more likely to complete a transaction requiring fewer steps, many companies prefer to forego address checking. They’re willing to incur a higher cost for returns processing in order to reduce the potential for greater cart abandonment.

Order value.

Speaking of costs, take your average order value into account when establishing your return policy. Since subscription boxes tend to be relatively inexpensive, many companies find it more economical to send a new box instead of requesting that subscribers return an order that arrives damaged or incomplete. For higher value items, of course, it will make sense to coordinate returns.

For more factors to consider, read the full blog post on Multichannel