Nowadays, it's common for customers to buy products online and return them in-store. While this may seem like a straightforward process for the customer, it can pose significant challenges for a retailer. Online and in-store sales are often treated as separate channels, which means that reconciling the two can be complicated and time-consuming.
In some cases, store managers may opt to return items to the online store through internal mail, essentially shifting the burden of reconciliation to the online team. Unfortunately, this approach can result in lengthy delays for customers who are waiting for refunds. It's important for retailers to develop streamlined processes for handling returns, so that customers can receive prompt and efficient service regardless of how they choose to shop.
The challenges of processing omnichannel returns
Reconciling omnichannel refunds can present a significant challenge for retailers. The process of linking payments to outstanding items is essential for processing payments. However, if online transactions are not visible in the physical store's checkout system (or vice versa), refunding an online payment can result in a cash difference, as there is no transaction against the money received from the customer. Similarly, exchanging a product can also be problematic if shipping costs cannot be found in the physical store's cash register.
Some store managers may decide to avoid the issue altogether and not refund the customer's money in-store, shifting the responsibility entirely to the webshop. While this may seem like a simpler solution, it can result in violations of customer rights if internal processes are not handled smoothly.
To avoid these challenges, it is crucial for retailers to develop streamlined processes for handling omnichannel returns. This includes ensuring that all transactions are visible across all channels and creating clear protocols for reconciling payments. By doing so, retailers can provide customers with prompt and efficient service, regardless of how they choose to shop.
Streamlining cross-channel refunds with uniform transaction handling
Uniform transaction handling across different channels is crucial for enabling cross-channel refunds. The following methods can be used to process omnichannel refunds seamlessly:
E-commerce refund: Refund all or part of the online payment amount from the original transaction directly through the e-commerce platform, such as Magento. The refund and transaction are linked in Pay.
E-commerce purchase in-store refund: Refund all or part of the online purchase amount from the original transaction directly through the e-commerce platform, such as Magento. The refund and transaction are linked in Pay. Alternatively, refund all or part of the online purchase amount from the original transaction by issuing an instant in-store refund to the customer's debit card.
In-store refund: Refund all or part of the in-store purchase amount directly using debit card refunds.
Standalone refund: Refund an amount that is not directly linked to the original transaction. The merchant has access to the IBAN and name of the account holder. The refund and transaction are linked in Pay.
Multipayment refund: Refund gift card payments made through multiple methods, such as gift card and iDEAL payment. The refund can be made to the gift card, IBAN, or both, regardless of the gift card's amount and duration.
To enable cross-channel refunds, a database with transaction data across the entire platform is required. This database must use the unique Pay. transaction ID. By implementing these refund methods and using a unified transaction handling system, retailers can provide customers with a seamless and efficient refund experience, regardless of the channel they used for their purchase.
Pay.'s omnichannel refund-solution
Pay's connected online and in-store systems make omnichannel returns much easier by providing a comprehensive overview of all transactions in one place. This eliminates the need for reconciliation, making the process smoother.
Customers can return online purchases to physical stores and receive instant in-store refunds via their debit card or by contacting customer service to arrange a refund for a defective product. Pay's uniform payment platform also enables channel-independent refunds, eliminating administrative hurdles.
The platform can even handle refunds involving gift cards or multiple payment methods, determining where the money should go in each scenario.
Note that instant in-store refunds via debit card are not possible for online transactions that were originally paid for with a credit card. Find out how to solve that issue here.