How to effectively manage merchandise returns

With the rise of e-commerce platforms and changing practices, product returns are becoming increasingly important in distribution, including among materials traders. Defective product, order error, repair request… Returns of goods can quickly become a headache, which impacts customer loyalty. How to effectively manage merchandise returns in your management software? DL Négoce takes stock and gives you some advice.

1. Centralize the management of merchandise returns 💻

The main objective of your after-sales service in materials trading is to have an overview of customer requests and feedback on the goods sold. through your trading management software returns of goods, the centralization of information is essential to benefit from a global visibility, to plan its operations correctly, to save time and in performance, for an increased quality of service. The challenge is indeed to make your customers loyal to your activity, by delivering precise information and a certain reactivity in your service offer.

Opt for a management software designed for trading and which integrates a complete dashboard to consult and follow the returns of goods. Specifically, your teams must have and transmit the right information to ensure proper handling of a return:

  • Creating a deal with a dedicated tracking number
  • Selection of the customer concerned from CRM data connected to your after-sales service module and your Materials trading ERP
  • Choice of the product concerned by the return directly via an invoice history
  • Warranty period information in months visible
  • Description of the problem observed and indication of a pre-recorded reason for return
  • Indication of a removal of goods or not (for example: the return of a boiler which may require the intervention of a technician at the customer’s home)
  • Indication of a temporary storage location (specific buffer zone)

Once the return has been recorded in your trade management software, the information is accessible to all your teams, which makes it easier to take charge of it. Beyond this simple sharing, centralization is a major ally in managing your after-sales service. The overview you benefit from allows you to plan interventions, supplier returns, and all the operations inherent in a return of goods, from the request for handling to the return of the goods.

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2. Automate and speed up operations ⚙

Multiple stages, various interlocutors, processes that differ according to the reasons for return… Returns of goods in the materials trading activity can quickly become a gas plant. This is why, in addition to the centralization of information and operations, it is necessary to opt for a management tool capable of saving you time.

Make sure your materials trading software incorporates performance-oriented features, for example:

  • Actions available directly from your monitoring dashboard: sending an email, editing a merchandise report, printing a return slip, etc.
  • A system of filters to have a precise vision of the returns of goods, according to their status (handling in progress, waiting for a decision, waiting for collection, closing, etc.), customers, suppliers concerned, etc.
  • Software indications that help decision-making and direct users when they deal with a case (information on the consequences of a selected action or a status allocated to a case, for example).
  • The automatic edition of return slips, informative documents, requests for supplier agreement to better communicate with all the parties concerned and keep track of events.

The ergonomics of a trading ERP and its handling should facilitate the work of your employees, improve the quality of service and build customer loyalty.

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3. Track and analyze returned goods 📈

The statistical and analytical processing of your product returns is crucial: it makes it possible to detect any bottlenecks, to follow the life cycle of your goods and, ultimately, to better control your purchases and your margins.

Use merchandise return management software that can adapt to your business and the way you do business. Upstream, it is essential to clearly categorize the status of the after-sales service (waiting for a decision, support in progress, return to supplier, credit note or exchange, repair out of or under warranty, etc.) and the reasons for returns (defective product, recycling, etc.). .

Subsequently, the statistical analysis of the tool allows you to:

  • Know the situation of your after-sales service in real time: number of cases in progress, supplier returns to be expected (with the possibility of making global returns on a regular basis), cases awaiting decision, etc.
  • Identify the most returned items, by customer, by status, by supplier to better control its margins;
  • Identify common reasons for returns: if an item is returned regularly, suffered a lot of breakage or has frequently defective parts, this can have an impact on your purchasing decisions;
  • Ultimately, ensure the quality of service offered to your customers and the responsiveness of your teams!

💡 3 tips for managing your returns of goods in materials trading:

  1. Centralize the management of product returns to guarantee the correct transmission of information and benefit from an overview thanks to a complete dashboard connected to your Trading ERP;
  2. Automate certain actions and speed up operations, by relying on ergonomic software adapted to your trading activity, to improve your quality of service, improve performance and build customer loyalty;
  3. Track and analyze merchandise returns, identifying the items, customers and suppliers concerned, to make the right restocking decisions and control your margins.

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