From the Blog

Why returns packaging matters and what you need to do about it

Return packaging is an important part of the post purchase experience that’s usually massively undervalued. Packaging used to be the same process across all eCommerce brands: wrapping the product, putting it in a generic brown box, slapping on a labeling, and delivering it. But now, it requires a greater attention to detail.

To set your brand up for success in 2022 and beyond, you need to supply your customers with return ready packaging. This means that the packages you deliver are designed to be used again. If a product is damaged or wasn’t what the customer expected, they can easily reuse the original packaging without having to rummage through what they have on hand.

Let’s jump down the rabbit hole and see how return ready packaging can help your eCommerce brand:

Return ready packaging removes a common roadblock in the returns experience

Take a second and put yourself in the customer's shoes. You ordered a pair of pants online just for them to arrive too short and the completely wrong color. The good thing is that you have 30 days to return them. The bad thing is that the pants arrived in a poly mailer that you had to rip open and is now completely unusable. So not only do you have to return the pants, you have to pay for a new package to put them in.

Now you're frustrated, you have $10 less to your name, and you don’t have a good pair of pants to show for it! Odds are, you won’t be shopping with that brand again—and you’re not alone. 73% of shoppers say that the overall returns experience affects their likelihood to purchase from a brand again.

Return ready packaging ensures that customers have a more positive experience with your brand and promotes sustainability. Single-use packaging? That’s a thing of the past.

Return ready packaging is more sustainable

Consumers have increasingly become more aware of the impact that their favorite brands have on the environment. A major reason why eCommerce has a negative impact on the environment is due to massive quantities of non-recyclable and non-reusable packaging. So it’s no surprise that packaging waste is responsible for roughly 30% of the total waste in the US annually.

If your packaging can’t be used to return unwanted items, you’re putting your customers in a position to continue to harm the environment. This is entirely avoidable with return ready packaging! Environmentally-friendly materials used in green packaging include:

  • Bioplastics

  • Plant-based plastics

  • Recycled paper, cardboard, and plastics

  • Organic materials like cornstarch packaging

  • Biodegradable packing peanuts

  • Mushroom packaging (yes, made from mushrooms)

A lot of these materials are items that would’ve been wasted, but by repurposing and utilizing them as packaging materials, you're giving them another chance.Return ready packaging saves your brand and customers money while also reducing your carbon footprint. It’s a win win!

Returns last year topped roughly $500 billion, but what happens to those items? More than likely, that shirt that didn’t fit quite right or the pillow that ended up being the wrong style will end up in a landfill. This is just another reason why having accurate descriptions and photography is vital for online businesses.

Return ready packaging lowers reverse logistics costs

We don’t have to tell you that packaging and shipping is a very complicated process in eCommerce. But believe it or not, return ready packaging allows you to standardize the return process.

Think about it: brands have complete control over all outbound shipments. Your team meticulously studies each order to ensure that the products are safely packaged in the smallest and lightest weight package possible. With inbound shipments, you don’t have as much control.

When you leave the logistics of return packaging in the hands of the customer, you run the risk of products not being secured properly and arriving damaged. That can result in unusable products or returns being rejected meaning that customers won’t receive their refund.

It’s also difficult to estimate return shipping costs because the customer may use different shipping carriers or larger than needed boxes that affect shipping costs. Your customers aren’t the experts, you are! Supplying return ready packaging ensures that both you and your customer are happy at the end of the day.

If you want to take it a step further, offer QR codes for your customers instead of requiring them to print their own return label. QR codes offer a simpler and more sustainable option for your shoppers.

Return ready packaging equals a stellar customer experience

With sustainability being a top trend this year for eCommerce brands, return ready and green packaging will take your brand up a notch. Plus let’s be honest, no one likes returns, so any effort to make the process more convenient has a massive impact on overall customer satisfaction.

Ready to hop into a better returns management platform? See how Return Rabbit drives 5x ROI on returns here.