Online jewellery retailer reduces returns rate by 17% using Clear Returns technology
The Jewellery Channel (TJC) is one of the leading television shopping channels in the UK, broadcasting to more than 30million homes. With the aim of creating and delivering beautiful high quality designs at accessible prices, positive customer experiences are essential to TJC’s ongoing success.
Using artificial intelligence from Clear Returns, TJC has improved customer satisfaction and reduced its financial returns rate.
About our client: The Jewellery Channel (TJC)
- More than 40,000 jewellery and lifestyle products available online and on television
- Broadcasting to over 30 million homes across the UK and Republic of Ireland
- Online services include 24/7 Personal Shopper
- Experienced advisors available at its UK-based call centre seven days a week
“We thought we understood our customers.” says Michelle Rudisser-Street, Head of Operations & Service Delivery at TJC.
Like many retailers, TJC segmented customers by where they live and shop, their age, even what books they like. It knew how long customers stay with them, and how much they spend. But there was one critical factor missing.
After all that work, how did TJC know which customers were most worth selling to?
“Somebody would buy a piece of jewellery just to have a look, then return it. But with the costs involved in televised air time, quality checks and delivery, that’s not cost-effective.”
At an industry event, Michelle was inspired to hear CEO of Clear Returns, Vicky Brock, speak about minimising problematic returns. Since then, the two companies have worked closely together to improve targeting and retention at TJC – with impressive results.
TJC now uses two market-leading products from Clear Returns to improve its returns rate.
Returns Insights is a one-stop returns analysis service for eCommerce businesses. Recognise and Personalise segments customers by behavioural patterns, and informs alerts that help tailor every interaction.
Defining segments for tailored service
Using Returns Insights, TJC was able to pinpoint behaviours unique to its customers and tailor buying experiences to reduce churn.
For example, some regular customers with a modest spend would make a significant purchase once a year – perhaps for a birthday or anniversary. These were labelled the ‘indulgers’. By encouraging indulgers to buy at that level just twice a year, TJC could potentially double revenue from those high value items.
Returns Insights also helped identify processes that could be improved to keep customers satisfied. The analysis revealed that some returns from first-time customers were in fact failed deliveries. To remedy this, TJC now uses feeds from Recognise & Personalise to identify and flag customers making their first purchase, so that they can be given priority signed-for delivery and additional quality checks. This has reduced churn of first-time customers and saved an estimated £1.08m annually in lost revenue.
These are just two of the valuable insights TJC is now using to tailor customer interactions and improve retention across the board.
Quick, informed decisions that reduce returns
Through ongoing feeds into the customer contact centre, information about customer behaviour is now much easier to access and use. This means TJC’s best customers can enjoy even better service. Items they want are more likely to be in stock, and less likely to be tied up in a returns cycle.
“Our system used over forty ‘return reason’ codes before, including free text, making it impossible to find a trend,” commented Michelle. “Now, we’re using Recognise & Personalise which integrates segmentation and retention data so it’s actually useful. Our agents see a traffic light system while they’re on the phone to a customer, which guides their conversation and decision-making.” If a customer is a ‘bad’ returner, denoted by a red light, the contact centre team can reduce time spent with them and make sure returns policies are carefully enforced. Conversely, ‘green lighted’ shoppers, who rarely make returns, might be offered incentives or encouraged to join the loyalty scheme.
Improving customer care
For customers who keep what they buy, Clear Returns technology is helping TJC to serve them even better.
“Now we’ve identified our ‘indulgers’, we can see that they love being
into the studio for some personal attention,” says Michelle. “In the two weeks after a recent open day, we had a spike in sales. Because we now understand this segment, we can improve retained sales to them.”
Understanding the real reasons for returns through Returns Insights has also helped TJC
become a customer care expert.
For example, TJC knows that ‘keepers’ are unlikely to return items, and can see who those customers are. If a product is being returned by
this segment, it may signal a genuine problem. Product teams are able to step in early to identify and resolve the issue, before any more customers are disappointed.
And by preventing high-value stock from going to ‘bad’ returners, TJC can make sure it’s available for ‘keepers’. This has the added benefit of reducing money spent on security and quality checks for goods that will most likely be returned.
Returns rate cut by 17%
Working with Clear Returns has had a huge impact on all operations at TJC, resulting in a 17% reduction in its refund rate. For a typical ecommerce business with a return rate of 25% we would expect to deliver at least a 15% reduction in returns.
“In the past we had trouble identifying good customers and encouraging repeat business. Now, we sell more to those people and have fewer returns. Most importantly, we’ve increased retention on high-value ticket items.”
Based on these results, TJC plans to integrate Clear Returns intelligence even further into its management systems, delivering even more joy …and making sure it’s kept.