It’s no secret; dealing with returns is complicated, messy, and painful for businesses. But does that mean you should lose money due to returns? Of course not! 

With the right returns management software, you can not only automate the entire returns process but also save yourself from future business losses. But with so much software available on the market, choosing the right one for your business might be a bit intimidating. To help you out, we have curated a list of 8 factors that you need to consider when choosing the best returns management software for your business: 

1. System Integration

One of the first things you need to consider when you are in the market for a returns management software is, “Does it integrate with my existing systems?”  

Returns management software is complex, to begin with. To ensure you are offering your customer a seamless experience while making operations easier for your own business, returns management software system integration must be your top priority. 

To get your money’s worth, choosing a returns management software that integrates not only with your e-commerce platform, but also your warehouse management and inventory management system is key. 

2. User-friendly Interface

This cannot be stressed enough. The best returns management software provides an interface that is easy to use. Moreover, the design is intuitive. And this applies to both – the front end of the software as well as the back end.  

Any customer that visits the portal to initiate a return should be able to navigate the site instinctively and make the return without the need for additional guidance. Similarly, accessing the tools and functionalities of the returns management software must be easy and quick for employees. For example, they shouldn’t have to click on several buttons or navigate through endless menus to perform necessary tasks.

3. Customized Returns Portal Branding

It is a given – good returns management software will enable you to enhance your customer experience. But there’s a difference between good and the best.  

The best returns management software, along with making your customer experience seamless, will give you the opportunity to boost your brand image. Even with small customization capabilities, such as incorporating brand colors, logo, fonts and more, the software can help maintain a consistent brand experience across different channels.

4. Real-time Product Visibility

Imagine this. A customer initiated a return. Two hours later, one of your employees who handles inventory sees this transaction and records it in an excel sheet. On the other side, the return has already been picked up and is on its way to the warehouse. Four days later, the warehouse employee notices the update to the inventory excel sheet and updates his own records. But here is the real kick – the warehouse workers have already received the returned item, processed it and updated their records. However, the people who update the inventory on the website have no clue about this returned item yet.  

The result? A customer browsing your website a few days later wants the same item and sees it is out of stock. He ends up buying it from your competitor. And in some corner of your warehouse, an item perfect for resale lies gathering dust. 

A real mess of inventory and duplicated records, right? 

Well, that is where an efficient returns management software steps in. While choosing the best software for your business, go for the one that offers real-time product visibility across your organization.

5. Consideration of Unique Business Rules

Returns are unpredictable. You can never anticipate the different returns scenario that can happen. For example, an item with a certain level of damage might be sent to refurbishment while another damaged item might be sent to recycling. These decisions will vary based on the nature of your business, the product, operations and more. 

So how would you deal with the constant influx of unpredictable returns?  

Simple, you need to choose returns management software that allows you to factor in your unique business needs. In short, it should offer easy customization options.

6. Quick & Accurate Dispositioning

The best returns management software will help you accurately disposition your inventory even before it reaches the warehouse. How? With the help of data, business rules, algorithms, and machine learning, the software can determine under which bucket – whether it’s back-to-stock, refurbishment, recycling, liquidation, or donation – the returned item would fall.  

But what’s in it for you?  

It’ll save you time and money! You won’t have to send all returned items back to the warehouse. Result? Reduced shipping costs and saved shipping time. Your employees won’t have to inspect every item. Result? Reduced labor costs and saved labor time.

7. Data Analytics

Now that we have tackled dispositioning, let’s look at one of the most important pieces of the returns management puzzle – data analytics. Now you might be thinking, “I need data to keep track of returns, but do I really need data analytics?” Valid question.  

Here’s the answer – a resounding yes! 

Returns are dreaded by businesses of all kinds. So, it’s not surprising they would want to reduce it as much as possible. Don’t you want the same for your business?  

Well, you can accomplish this with data analytics. When customers initiate a return on the portal, ask them the reason for the return. Some common reasons might be the item too big? Too small? Did they receive the wrong item? Did they purchase multiple sizes to find the best fit?  

Through data analytics, you can find recurring patterns in returns. Equipped with this knowledge, addressing key issues that consequently reduce the rate of returns would become possible. For example, if customers responded that the items were either too small or too big, it might be time to re-evaluate the product sizing chart.

8. Cost Savings

Another key factor to consider when choosing the best returns management software for your business is the cost. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Would deploying this software reduce my costs on shipping and labor?  
  • Would it increase my margins by helping me reduce the rate of returns?  
  • Would it enable me to find a dynamic solution that fits the needs of my organization?  
  • Would it give me a high ROI? 

Returns management software is a long-term investment for your business. Rather than looking at the price tag (which only affects the short-term cash flow), determine whether the software has the potential to generate higher ROI for you down the road. 

Don’t leave the decision of choosing the best returns management software up to chance. If you are having difficulty choosing the right software for your business, G2 can help. Book a call with us to learn more about some key factors to keep in mind and we can help determine if G2’s solution would be a good fit for your business.


Written By:

As CIO for G2, Julian will oversee the technology strategy and teams to evolve, scale, and optimize G2's platform. He brings over 15 years of experience in Supply Chain and Reverse Logistics technology. He has led the implementation of multiple innovative solutions that created business value in market capture, cost savings, and increasing net recovery.