Managing Returns

eCommerce Customer Journey
From an eCommerce Returns Perspective

By Commerce Returns

Published on February 17, 2021 - 3 Min Read

eCommerce Customer Journey Layers
Fig 1: Shopify's eCommerce Customer Journey Layers

In order to understand how important eCommerce Returns are to the Customer Experience, we must refer to the Traditional eCommerce Customer Journey Map as described by Shopify.

eCommerce Customer Journey Map

Every successful storefront has identified and mapped their Customer Journeys one stage at a time. If you are unfamiliar with Shopify's Customer Journey Layers you can read more about the concept here.

In summary the Customer Journey is broken out into 5 layers (listed below), and each of these layer plays a pivotal role in getting a consumer to make that purchase.

The 5 layers are as follows:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Acquisition
  4. Service
  5. Loyalty

So where do eCommerce Returns fit in to the eCommerce Customer Journey Map?

eCommerce Returns interact primarily with layers 1, 2, and 4. But lets review all of the stages and see just how important eCommerce Returns are to your online store.

1. Awareness

A customer has a need to buy an item, and they see an ad to your landing page. In this layer if the customer is already aware of your return policy, this awareness can either cause them to continue or to bounce from your site.

  • If the customer's awareness is that your eCommerce Returns process is simple and eCommerce Friendly, the customer will continue to your page.
  • If on the other hand the customer's awareness is that your eCommerce Returns process is not eCommerce Friendly, the customer will pause and think if shopping at your online store is worth the potential hassle.

2. Consideration

While your customers consider purchasing your product, they also review your return policy. As mentioned earlier if your return policy is not eCommerce Friendly, this customer touch point can actually drive away a sale.

3. Acquisition

Some merchants opt to include a return label into every shipped order.

Before you do that, consider the following finding:

Our customers have reported that after they switched to our Self-Serve eCommerce Returns Portal, they saw an overall drop in returns.

If you think about it, this actually makes sense doesnt it? So its best to leave the Returns Process as a separate and easy to use function. Don't tie returns to the Acquisition layer.

4. Service

When it comes to servicing eCommerce returns, always remember the following:

An Excellent Returns experience can win over a new customer, while a Terrible Returns Experience can lose an existing customer.

So what makes a returns experience great? You must have an easy to use, self-serve ecommerce returns portal.

5. Loyalty


76% of FIRST-TIME customers who had an “easy” or “very easy” returns experience said they would shop with that retailer again.


33% of REPEAT customers who had a “difficult” or “very difficult” experience would NOT shop with that retailer again.

As mentioned above, An Excellent Returns experience can win over a new customer, while a Terrible Returns Experience can lose an existing customer.

Don't forget that your return policy sets your customers Returns Experience, and the Customer's Returns Experience is critical to Customer Retention, and ultimately to Customer Loyalty.

In Summary

More and more customers are actively looking for an easy to use Returns Process.

When consumers were asked what would prevent them from making a purchase, ~25% responded with 'Not Having the option to return online / by mail'. This figure is up by ~15% from the previous year.

If your Returns Process is not clear, and does not involve the means to return goods via post, shoppers are more likely to either abandon their shopping cart, or to simply not even proceed with adding any items to their cart.

eCommerce Returns Software

Commerce-Returns is built for any business which engages in any form of commerce. From eCommerce stores to traditional brick-and-mortar stores, Commerce Returns provides businesses the infrastructure to automate their returns in a cost effective manner.

In order to meet the growing problem of returns from your Customers, choose our Self-Serve Returns Portal and simplify returns for both you and your customers.


If you would like to continue this discussion, feel free to reach out to us directly at [email protected]