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The E-Commerce Boom Is Causing Increased Returns — This New Partnership Helps Retail Keep Up

The e-commerce experience has been a key focus for DTC brands and retailers across the industry, as consumers increasingly buy online. But the shopper journey doesn’t end at the checkout — the post-purchase component is also an important factor in whether a customer will return.

A new integration between fulfillment solution MasonHub and returns service Returnly aims to optimize this experience and keep shoppers happy and spending.

As a third-party logistics provider, MasonHub takes over responsibility for all of a retailer’s fulfillment obligations. Merchant customers ship their inventory to MasonHub-operated distribution centers, from which orders are then packaged and shipped out. The company supports international delivery; real-time inventory and shipment tracking; and the entire returns process.

However, this new integration also allows MasonHub to combine its robust backend infrastructure with Returnly’s customer-centric interface. Returnly counts a number of well-known DTC brands among its customers, such as Everlane, Outdoor Voices and ThirdLove, and therefore is well-positioned to partner with brands that focus on customer relationships and may be exploring e-commerce for the first time in 2020.

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“Our integration merges Returnly’s user-friendly experience with our powerful back-end operations platform to create an incredibly seamless returns experience for online retailers,” said MasonHub founder and CEO Donny Salazar. “Bringing MasonHub and Returnly together empowers retailers to grow with the peace of mind that their returns process is now as accurate and automated as their inventory management.”

With more shoppers conducting the entire purchasing journey online and unable to try a product in-person, there is an increased likelihood of returned items. Studies have shown that customers are more forgiving of delays right now, but still expect a smooth process. This is especially true if they are new to a brand and therefore have less brand loyalty.

“Returns are a big part of running an online apparel business,” said Shannon Savage and Laura Low Ah Kee, co-founders of swimwear brand Left on Friday. “We don’t have brick-and-mortar to rely on for customers to try on our product, so it’s inevitable that we would need solutions to manage the business of returns.”

Through the Returnly solution, brands can send their customers an exchanged item before receiving the original, incorrect product; Returnly pays for the exchange order, so the brand doesn’t suffer a temporary revenue loss. The platform also connects to real-time inventory data and enables shoppers to easily request a change in color, style or size, thus improving the customer experience.

But even with these added features, merchants are competing against large-scale operations like Amazon and Walmart and need to offer a similarly efficient service. As a complete fulfillment solution, MasonHub offers a proven network that supports high volume shipments. This is critical during the current period of high e-commerce growth and something that many companies may have found themselves logistically unprepared for.

“We’re always looking for ways to reduce friction in the return experience for both merchants and shoppers, and our integration with MasonHub does just that,” said Eduardo Vilar, CEO and founder of Returnly. “By speeding up returns processing, merchants can offer their shoppers faster return refunds, all while freeing up valuable time for our merchants to spend with more impactful work.”

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