For ecommerce merchants, few things dim the glow of getting a new order more than your customer requesting to cancel it before it even ships out. Industry veterans know too well that managing requests to cancel orders do not stop at simply deleting the order from your workflow.
If only it were that easy.
Order cancellations, particularly ‘quick cancels’, are an all-too-common part of commerce as a whole, and are costly for merchants with regard to time, money, and resources.
As consumers, we’ve all been in situations, both at physical stores and while shopping online, where we need to cancel or modify an order or return an item we’ve purchased for a refund or exchange. The ability to quickly cancel or return products is an important guarantee that brands must offer their customers.
But for ecommerce merchants, handling cancellations and returns is dreaded work while also representing a major drag on revenue. Managers will go to great lengths to mitigate the potential for any cancellations or loss of revenue, especially performance marketers who’ve paid a premium to acquire the customer.
It’s critical to salvage orders rather than simply canceling them, where possible.
That’s where 29 Next steps in. If canceled orders are damaging your bottom line, read on to learn more about 29 Next’s multiple order management and support features that greatly reduce the number and impact of quick cancels and avoid customer churn.
What are Quick Cancels?
Online customers are not flawless in their shopping execution, which often leads to them making mistakes with their orders. We frequently see customers realizing they have ordered the wrong product, size, or quantity, or input the wrong shipping address, and immediately requesting to cancel the order.
These are quick cancels, and they can create a lot of extra work and costs for merchants, not to mention headaches for performance media-based sales attribution.
These scenarios are common when customers use express checkout options like Paypal – often the default shipping address in their account isn’t correct, but it goes unnoticed until their order is confirmed.
When a customer requests to cancel an order, customer service staff will typically do the following:
- Locate the customer’s order in their system, and manually intervene to stop the fulfillment process (if possible) or organize a return or exchange of goods
- If a payment has been made, refund the money (while incurring processing fees)
- Reach or respond to the customer and find out why the order was canceled and whether it can be salvaged
Each of these steps requires manpower, time, and other resources that could otherwise be used for more revenue-generating activities.
Customer Accounts / Delayed Fulfillment
One of the most effective ways to reduce the chance that a customer cancels an order is to give them the opportunity to edit it before it ships. Merchants who platform on 29 Next can provide their customers with a robust customer account dashboard that gives them this very option, available through a single tap or click on their order confirmation notification.
Rather than cancel the order entirely to correct an error, the customer can simply go into their account, edit the order accordingly, and re-submit it – all before it is sent off to fulfillment.
To facilitate this salvage method, merchants can set a delay on the fulfillment of new orders for a set period of time from the 29 Next Dashboard. This creates a window of time for customers to adjust their order contents and shipping addresses, and even add additional upsells to the order before it’s sent to the fulfillment center. Additionally, customer service staff can add or subtract line items, quantities, or set orders to a pending status for cases that may require extra time to investigate.
The upshot of this delay is that orders can be adjusted, repaired, and salvaged rather than canceled outright, avoiding unnecessary and costly service inquiries, inventory losses, and expenses for handling fulfillment and returns.
Further, with the original order repaired (rather than canceled), media performance metrics – such as AOV, cancel rates, and marketing source performance – remains accurate.
Downsell Paths for Subscriptions
Efforts to mitigate order cancellations aren’t just focused on single order quick cancels; subscriptions are equally at risk of abrupt cancellations as well. With subscriptions and recurring revenue being a major target for many D2C ecommerce brands, 29 Next aids merchants in creating alternative ways to deter customers from ending a subscription.
One way is to deploy downsell paths before the customer has the chance to cancel. For example, if a customer has a subscription for monthly shipments, a merchant can offer to downsell to bi-monthly or quarterly shipments. They can also offer promotions and other incentives to keep the subscription active, all from within the customer’s self-serve account.
These downsell paths don’t entirely erase a loss in revenue, but they do salvage some of it and retain a valuable customer and their future recurring revenue.
Retain Customer Lifetime Value
Above all else, ecommerce buyers expect simple things to be simple. For example, a mistaken shipping address, an incorrect size/quantity, or a change of heart, should be swiftly addressed by customer service. Oftentimes when a customer asks to cancel an order, they would be just as happy to receive it once a few simple modifications are made.
But the reality is that platforms like Shopify only offer limited after-sales service options to delay, modify, and repair orders. Without better after-sales service options, both the merchant and customer suffer.
When orders can’t be canceled because fulfillment can’t be stopped, the customer may be forced to return items they may not have wanted in the first place, leaving a sour taste and dissuading them from wanting to buy from the merchant again. And for direct response brands with high order volumes, even 1-2% of orders being canceled for preventable reasons can add up to impactful losses.
Ultimately, retaining customers and maximizing their lifetime value is highest on a D2C brand’s list of priorities. 29 Next empowers brands to provide exceptional customer service, improving customer outcomes and value perception while saving on manpower, shipping, and inventory costs.
For D2C ecommerce, avoiding quick cancels can be the “make or break” margin for profitability, and not planning for them is a risk not many can take.
Interested in upgrading to 29 Next? Get started with us and schedule a demo today.