10 steps guide to eliminate COD Returns and become profitable

Reduce COD Returns

Ecommerce & COD in India

E-Commerce in India is driven by COD facility it offers. You are reducing the market size if you are offering only prepaid options. So if you want to sell anything in India, COD facility is mandatory to have good returns on the advertisement money spent. In this post, let us learn in step by step approach how to reduce COD returns.

The chart below(Source: IAMAI/Deloitte) shows the COD consumption in India. Its a whooping 45% of the total e-commerce orders. So, there is no way you can deny COD for your customers.

COD India

The COD orders received should be followed properly from the time order hits the dashboard. If this work is done meticulously, we can change the COD into a lucrative option to lure customers into buying more. This will increase your ROI on the advertisement money spent. We can look at this issues in two ways, first priority is to get as many prepaid orders as possible, secondly to reduce the COD Returns.

Make the customers Pay

This is the priority. Try to get as many prepaid orders as possible. Use all or combination of the following

Step: 1 – Make the website trusted

It is not about just adding a 100% secure payment logo on the footer. Make the website truly secure with https and right payment gateway. Use proper UI/UX, navigation flow, font/color/logo used to communicate the trustworthiness of the brand. Show customer support number and encourage customers to contact for any queries.

Step: 2 – Give generous return policy

Customer expects a second option if their purchase goes wrong. So it is natural to give that chance if you expect one to trust you with a purchase. Give your own terms associated with it but give a generous return policy. Also, highlight the same in the product page.

Step: 3 – Incentivise Prepaid

Give an irresistible offer to pay them via prepaid option. Do this on the checkout page, where the customer chooses between prepaid or COD. The offer should outweigh the benefits of COD, it needn’t be an upright cash discount. It can be a cash back for future orders, extended warranty, free delivery, a freebie etc.

Step: 4 – Charge for COD

Do not overdo this to the level it hurts your conversions. Charge a nominal fee for providing cash on delivery option.
Try to educate the customer that cash on delivery option comes with a cost and ask the customer to support going cashless.

Step: 5 – Convert COD to Prepaid

After receiving COD orders, it is not it. Send a link for your COD customers immediately after receiving the order with a 5% discount to pay online. This will convert a percentage of your COD orders into prepaid ones. Remember to keep a timeline as few hours and start processing orders because delayed dispatch will result in more COD returns.

COD Confirmation

After all your efforts, if the customer want to get the delivery via COD, follow the below to do a smooth delivery. Faster delivery, smoother communication about order confirmation, dispatch details, enables the customer to trust the product more and accept the order. Whats more, collect the cash like a Pro!

Step: 6 – Call the customer

Do this every single time, especially for high value orders. Check and confirm the products, size/color chosen, address details including landmark and address type. Do not call via automated voice calling immediately after placing the order. Call them yourself or with the help of a call center after 1-2 hours of placing the order.

Step: 7 – Faster Dispatch

Customers are more and more expecting offline retail buying experience online. They want the product in their hands as soon as order is placed. Mention the maximum dispatch time and delivery time clearly in the product page and on the website. Do the dispatch well before the mentioned time to be in the customers’ good books. In dropshipping, its the responsibility of the manufacturer. You should make sure it happens and support them with proper addresses, product details, design files and all relevant details to get it shipped.

Step: 8 – Check History

Check the history of the customer. Few customers may repeatedly order high value items and ignore delivery. If you feel there is no genuine reasons behind repeated order cancellations, cancel the order right away.

Step: 9 – Give live updates

Customers expect to be informed about all the backend process happening at your end. You may simplify the process and keep informing the customer via sms or email with status like Printed, Packed, Dispatched, Reached your local hub, Out of Delivery etc. This will act as a remainder and the customer will keep the cash ready and in the mindset to accept the product when the product finally arrives.

Step: 10 – Re-attempt

If customer is not available at the location or not picking calls. Wait for a while and communicate with him via WhatsApp or email to get his convenient time and location for the delivery. And arrange the same by co-ordinating with the courier partner for smooth delivery. Also, co-ordinate with your dropship company with detailed information to do re-attempt of delivery.

Step: 11 – Pay with Card

Some courier companies are offering pay with card option. This is a win-win situation for the courier companies, customers and brand like yours. Customer will only pay when they are receiving the product. Customer need not have cash in hand during delivery as well.

Conclusion

Take enough efforts to minimise the COD orders in the first place. After receiving COD orders, take meticulous efforts in getting them delivered. This will highly reduce the COD returns. You must understand that COD Returns exists and its part and parcel of the E-Commerce Business experience in India. Keeping this small returns after enough efforts in the product cost should totally eliminate the COD returns effect in our business.

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