Returns Problem of Indian E-Commerce

After interacting with 1000+ Amrutam community members, I learnt an important lesson about the returns problem in India.

Varying from industry to industry, online brands on average face 15% to 40% returns month-on-month.

Why does this happen?

This is what the majority of our customers shared when we started asking them about the issue of the returns proactively:

1. The delivery partner never came to my location
2. I did not receive a call from the delivery partner
3. I had requested a different date for delivery and yet my order was returned

As we started recording these responses and analysing the data, we realised that majority of returns are happening because of the lags in current e-commerce delivery systems.

Unlike the food delivery system, where most aggregators like Zomato & Swiggy, have their own delivery fleet and provide real-time updates about when your food will be delivered, e-commerce delivery partners fail to do so because the majority of the
e-commerce deliveries happen via 3rd Party Logistics Vendors and brands have little control over the delivery journey of their product.

Giants like Amazon & Flipkart have built their own delivery fleets, Flipkart has E-Kart as its delivery service and Amazon has its own delivery fleet.

ForD2C brands, it will be a capital-extensive affair to build their own national delivery fleet to get more control over the delivery journey.

Few aggregators have emerged in the eco-system which are trying to solve this and improve the delivery experience. While the problem still remains because most aggregators are still working with the same courier partners – Delhivery, Bluedart, Xpressbees, Amazon Shipping and again the same problem of limited control over how these couriers manage their operations.

As a D2C brand, the one-word mantra which can help solve this problem to a great extent is Trust.

Since day one at Amrutam , we have always focussed on building and offering the best customer support to our community members by focusing on these three values:

1. Transparency

Whenever we have faced a challenge with delivery, we have made sure that we inform our customers about the delay/any other logistical issue we are facing and the majority of customers appreciated this transparency and helped us tackle these challenges – truly like a community.

2. Proactiveness

With 500+ active users per minute during sales, our DMs get swamped with order-related queries and we make sure our Customer Happiness Architects are available consistently to answer all these queries.

3. Empathy

Something I have seen and experienced brands doing is – taking no responsibility for post-sales completion milestones. Many-a-times, customers just want a listening ear and they understand brands have limitations too, a customer is happy as long as they have someone who is actively listening to their concerns.

These three principles have helped us build trust and also, reduce returns.


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