What you need to know about international parcel export return rates

29 August, 2017

Looking up at the flags of EU countries.

For businesses looking to sell globally, the focus of service is often on the fulfilment and shipping of an order. However, in the current market selling is not a one way process – return rates are high and businesses that expect to keep customers must have measures in place to deal efficiently with international parcel returns.

The right returns policy

Your returns policy is a key document and can actually have significant influence over whether customers are willing to make a purchase with your business in the first place. Free returns are a huge incentive for customers who aren’t 100% sure about whether to buy from you and can be an advantage where this is cost effective to provide. Whether you offer free returns across the board – or for orders over a certain value – it’s an important point to consider. The returns policy should also be crystal clear on how easy it is to return items and how much effort is involved on the part of the consumer – covering everything, from how long the customer has to return the item, to when a return won’t be accepted.

The right logistics

Chaotic returns can prove to be enormously expensive for businesses. Any operation shipping outside the UK is going to have to tackle international parcel returns at some point and so it’s crucial that this process is in place before the first return situation arises. Alongside a streamlined returns policy, every business should have the logistics in place to handle the return of the item. This includes physically returning the item to the right location in the UK, extracting data such as the customer details and the reason for return, as well as checking the returned product and its suitability for exchange or refund.

Options for international parcel returns

There are many different options for handling international parcel returns, including:

  • Write off the cost – focus on customer service and give a refund without a return.
  • International parcel carriers – most global carriers provide simple and cost effective options for returns.
  • Returns consolidation services – some businesses offer a local returns address for goods in the country they were shipped to. When enough returns are received these are sent back to the UK in bulk.

What about parcels that don’t get delivered?

International parcel returns are one thing but what if your package never makes it to the customer in the first place? If a parcel can’t be delivered it’s key to make sure that it comes back to you, whether you work with a logistics provider that supports the process of undeliverable mail or look at other options.