Nov 2 | 4 min read

From Hassles to Happiness: The Power of Automated In-Store Returns

Aila Staff

In-store returns are a massively important but underutilized part of the customer journey. According to a  survey by UPS, 73% of consumers indicated that the return experience would impact whether or not they continue shopping with a retailer. The focus is now on automating these processes to address customer expectations, overcome operational challenges (like labor shortages), ensure a consistent brand experience, and, most importantly, increase customer satisfaction.

Why automate in-store returns?  

Customers appreciate the convenience and efficiency of returning items directly to a physical store. Not only does it allow them to look for a replacement item or make exchanges immediately, but it also provides a valuable opportunity for retailers to improve the overall customer experience while also turning those returns into sales. When a customer comes into a store to make a return, it’s an ideal moment to cross sell or upsell a related product.  

For instance, when a  customer returns an an online-purchased shirt due to size issues, you can leverage this information by letting the customer know that you have a range of sizes available in-store for the same shirt, while also showing them the matching pants. This allows retailers to turn a negative shopping experience into a positive for the customer

Things to consider when selecting a kiosk 

Selecting the appropriate returns kiosk is pivotal for optimizing the advantages of in-store returns. Your choice of kiosk can wield a substantial influence on both the customer’s experience and the return process’s efficiency. Here are essential factors to contemplate when determining the perfect returns kiosk for your store:

  1. Size and capacity: Choosing a kiosk with a  small footprint takes up less real estate and makes it easy to move to other areas of the store.
  2. User experience: Leveraging what you know about your customers, you can create a familiar and user-friendly experience.
  3. Integration with existing systems: Choosing a kiosk that integrates seamlessly with your existing system will reduce time to deployment, minimize issues at launch, and ensure the returns are being processed efficiently and accurately.
  4. Customization and branding: Prioritizing customization and branding options will help maintain a consistent brand experience and reinforce brand identity. 
  5. Maintenance and support: Choosing a kiosk that is designed for easy maintenance and repair with comprehensive support is needed to ensure a reliable and hassle-free operation. Regular OS updates also ensures a responsive user experience and protects against security vulnerabilities. 

The Traditional Hassle of In-Store Returns

The hassle of in-store returns has been a thorn in the side of both customers and retailers. These challenges stem from the complexity and inefficiency of the in-store returns process, often involving a series of pain points that can erode customer satisfaction and employee morale.

Wait times: Customers would often face long lines, leading to dissatisfaction and potential lost business. This issue highlights the need for a change in how returns are handled.

Paperwork: Manual paperwork, including filling out forms and validating receipts, consumes valuable employee time. 

Human error: Manual processes are prone to errors, which can result in further customer dissatisfaction and employee headaches. Automating the process can significantly reduce these errors.

Inconsistent experience: Depending on the employee handling the return, the experience could vary widely, making it an unpredictable ordeal for customers.

The New Hassle-Free Process of In-Store Returns

In today’s retail landscape, where the customer is making buying decisions based on the retailer’s return policies, it is more important than ever for retailers to adopt an efficient and customer-centric approach to the in-store returns process.  Eliminating the cumbersome and time-consuming aspects of returns that often lead to long wait times, mistakes, and unhappy customers is a pivotal first step for retailers. The need for automating the in-store process is necessary, and here’s why: 

Time-saving: Instant ID Verification and auto-form fill drastically reduce the time required for returns, making it a user-friendly, seamless process for customers. This saves valuable time and ensures a quick and convenient experience.

Enhanced accuracy: Automation minimizes the chances of human errors, while also ensuring the shopping experience is consistent for each customer, eliminating the variability associated with human intervention. This enhances the overall quality of service.

Reduced paperwork: Digital forms reduce the reliance on paper, making it more convenient for individuals and environmentally friendly.

Efficiency: Automating the process frees up employees and boosts operational efficiency by saving time for each customer interaction. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also increases the efficiency and productivity of the retail operation.

With in-store return automation, the process is as simple as walking up to the kiosk, scanning the barcode on the item, and dropping the item in the basket. This process meets customer expectations, streamlines operations, and ensures a complete return in just a few seconds.

Aila for in-store automated returns 

Aila’s  Interactive Kiosk for in-store automated returns is a cutting-edge solution that empowers retailers to excel in today’s dynamic retail landscape. By implementing our in-store returns solutions, retailers can not only keep up with evolving customer expectations but also tackle operational challenges head-on, all while upholding a steadfast brand identity and enhancing overall customer satisfaction.


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