Improving tradition with online returns: How NATURANA uses 8returns to ensure more sustainable returns management
As a company, NATURANA looks back on a history rich in tradition. Founded as early as 1917 as a manufacturer of corsetry in Gomaringen, the Swabians were the first German lingerie producer to offer German women corsets with hooks instead of lacing.
This love of innovation runs like a thread through the history of the company. In the 1950s, for example, NATURANA was the first company to use bras made of elastane, a revolutionary material at the time, and also to introduce the pre-shaped cup here.
Today, the Gomaring-based company sells its exclusive lingerie products in over 40 countries and generates sales in the higher double-digit millions.
For two years now, the company has been expanding into the online sector - since the beginning of 2021 Karin Lindenau, Director Digital Business & E-Commerce, who, in addition to smooth processes and satisfied customers, is particularly interested in automation and environmental protection.
A few months ago, NATURANA brought 8returns on board as a returns partner to ensure more sustainable and smoother processes when it comes to returns management. Karin Lindenau tells us why this decision was not only good for the environment and internal processes but also for customer satisfaction.
NATURANA’s returns management before 8returns
"Of course, we had a solution for our returns before", Karin tells us. "However, the entire process was rather suboptimal and not fully automated. For us as a company, the reasons for returns often remained intransparent, and for our customers, the entire process was not very user-friendly.
High manual effort and poor customer experience
When a customer requested a return from us via the previous returns center, he received an e-mail with a link that he had to click on. This then took him to the DHL page, where he was again asked to enter his address data. From there, another mail went out with the return label, which then had to be printed out and attached to the package."
The more complicated the return process is for customers, the less motivation there is to visit the online store again in the future. But even more annoying, says Karin, is that there have been repeated cases where return emails have not reached buyers for technical reasons. Either the customer then wrote another email to customer service to complain, which meant more extra work for customer support in addition to frustration. Or the customer gave up in frustration, kept the item, and drew her consequences: a bad rating and no further purchases.
Lack of product feedback due to non-transparent return reasons
"Before we switched to 8returns, unfortunately, our customers could only specify the return reason per return and not per item. Hardly anyone takes the trouble to list individually why he or she is returning three bras and two panties.
So our customer support rarely knew what was wrong with the items and could not make a recommendation to the customer or our product designers. In the long run, this meant even more returns for us that could have been avoided with the right information."
Returns after switching to 8returns
In the meantime, NATURANA has switched its entire returns management to the returns portal of 8returns.
Karin tells us:
"Today, when a customer wants to return her purchase to us, she simply logs into our returns portal. There, she selects the items for return shipping and the system automatically creates the return label based on the data it receives from DHL and Shopify."
More service quality with less effort
"After the automatic creation of the return label, the customer now receives a QR code on her cell phone, which she simply shows at the post office. Only there will the returns label be printed out. For our customers, the paperless DHL returns in combination with the returns portal from 8returns, which has been customized for us, means on the one hand fewer inquiries in customer support and e-mails, and the other hand, of course, much higher service quality."
In addition, the new system is much more resource-efficient. This is because the dedicated label printers of the mail order companies not only operate much more power- and ink-efficiently than typical home devices. Above all, they print out a returns label on a much smaller paper format - about one-eighth of DIN A4.
Fewer incorrect purchases due to better product recommendations
"Our new portal also allows us to indicate the reasons for returns for each item. Our customers can now tell us exactly whether the cups were too small on one bra and the straps too short on another. This is very helpful for our product development and returns management."
Karin goes on to explain that this finally allows customer service representatives the opportunity to provide customers with in-depth advice on their future purchasing decisions. Should it simply be the same model in a different size or does a completely different bra fit the buyer's stature much better? These and similar questions can now be answered effortlessly at NATURANA.
It is obvious that this also has positive effects for the company and our planet: if a customer knows exactly which lingerie offers her the greatest wearing comfort, there are significantly fewer incorrect purchases and thus also fewer shipments that have to be returned.
Making companies sustainable through intelligent returns management
Intelligent returns management, therefore, helps everyone: the customers, who enjoy less hassle and better service, the company, which has to invest significantly fewer resources in processing returns, and the environment, which is less polluted at the end of the day.
All images courtesy of NATURANA.