Five Best in Class Practices for DTC Ecommerce Returns


Provide your cross-border customers with a returns experience as good as their buying experience

As ecommerce becomes not only a more popular but more necessary option due in part to the pandemic, ecommerce brands need to make sure all elements of the shopper journey are maintained at the highest possible standard. Returns and reverse logistics – what happens after the shopper has received their goods – is a key part of this.

The buyer journey doesn’t end when the shopper receives their goods. In fact, as 41% of shoppers frequently buy multiples of the same item – often to find the right size – shopper returns are more likely than ever. In addition, 46% of shoppers say that an ecommerce returns policy has deterred them from shopping. With cross-border ecommerce becoming more accessible and 49% of consumers making between 1 and 5 overseas purchases, the ability to return products with ease is an important reassurance for shoppers.

ecommerce returns

For retailers and brands that want to provide the best reverse logistics experience to their international shoppers, here are five ways to achieve that.

  1. Provide prepaid or shopper paid returns

With 91% of consumers saying they are likely to buy from a brand that offers free shipping and 62% wanting free returns and exchanges, it’s clear that providing free returns is an incentive for shoppers to convert. Not all ecommerce businesses can absorb the cost of free shipping and free returns, but providing a shipping threshold (eg free shipping over $50) will help to offset the costs of offering such an incentive.

If free returns are impossible, provide a returns label to the shopper to make the process of sending back the goods as easy as possible.

  1. Provide multiple returns options for shoppers

Shoppers like to have a variety of options when returning goods and providing options that allow shopper more control over when and how they return makes for a better shopper experience.

Common returns options for shoppers:

  • Courier pick up
  • Return in store
  • Postal delivery
  • Drop off to third party locations

Providing a range of return options where possible means that shoppers have more control over their returns, leading to a sense of confidence in the brand, which will increase brand loyalty and help to generate more sales.

  1. Track returns to increase customer satisfaction

When shoppers make returns they often don’t get alerted about the status of the parcel and their refund until the item is received and the refund processed. If there are any delays to this process, for example in the return of goods to the brand for any reason, this can cause undue worry or concern to the shopper.

Providing tracking similar to when items are shipped will help give shoppers peace of mind that their parcel is in safe hands, and if any delays to arise, will reduce queries to customer services.

  1. Use a flexible and fully functional returns admin portal

Not all returns are created alike. Whether a shopper returns a damaged item, or somehow makes a mistake with the return – such as returning two items but only creating a return for one item, using a flexible and fully functional returns admin portal that can accommodate various credit rules and reason codes to determine shopper refund value will enable refunds to be processed quickly and efficiently.

  1. Refund as quickly as possible

Brands can speed up the process by having in-country returns hubs where returns are inspected upon receipt and refunds issued.


Shoppers all around the world expect smooth reverse logistics processes. Delivering upon these expectations will ensure their loyalty to the brand. Brands that provide the highest possible level of reverse logistics experience demonstrate their commitment and ensure the relationship continues and grows stronger with every interaction.

To find out how ESW can help provide your brand with superb cross-border reverse logistics and more, speak to our team of experts here.

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