customer returns a blouse

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers returned an estimated $428 billion in merchandise to retailers in 2020, approximately 10.6% of total U.S. retail sales in 2020. Following the 2021 holiday season, UPS says it is on track to process more than 60 million return packages between Nov. 14 and Jan. 22 – a 10% over last year. In addition, one in four Americans is expected to make a return.

While the holiday season may behind us, the lasting effects of those holiday returns will continue for the next couple of weeks, if not longer due to continued supply chain delays and retailers’ extended return windows. With an influx of returns, how can retailers handle them all securely and seamlessly? The key is transaction-based payments tokenization.

For retailers who already have transaction-based payments tokenization in place, the below should be taken as best practices; for others, these are just a few of the reasons why transaction-based payments tokenization should be a main priority for 2022.

Elevate the Returns Process With Payments Tokenization

As we’ve explained in a previous blog, payments tokenization is the process of switching out sensitive payment information with randomized data that has no intrinsic value and storing the original information that has been transposed within a secure vault. By replacing customers’ data with tokens, merchants don’t need to worry about storing private information.

Equipped with end-to-end security, retailers can diminish the risk of breaches and in turn, increase customer trust. When it comes to returns, retailers can take advantage of transaction-based payments tokenization to make the process as secure and seamless as possible.

Securely Process Holiday Returns

Transaction-based payments tokenization is necessary for a secure returns process. Because customers’ data is tokenized, merchants never have to hold sensitive data – or face a data breach. These tokens can also be shared across payments channels, whether online, in-store or mobile, mitigating risk in an omnichannel world.

As a result, if transaction-based payments tokenization is in place at the time of a purchase, the tokenized data can be used to process a return without compromising security. Tokenization protects both consumers and the retailer’s bottom line by ensuring customers can securely pay and return their purchases.

Deliver a Fast and Seamless Holiday Returns Experience

In addition, offering easy returns is essential for improving the customer experience and increasing loyalty not only during the holiday season, but also all year long. According to a survey by Doddle, 84% of respondents said the returns experience plays an important role in their opinion of a retailer. 

Whether it’s returning in-store or through shipping, tokenization simplifies the process without the customer ever having to present a payment method. All the customer needs to do is provide proof of purchase, and the store associate will be able to seamlessly complete the return. This adds a new level of convenience and speed to the shopping journey while reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction.

Improve Your Holiday Returns Process With OLS Payments

Reducing pain points for retail returns and exchanges will continue to be a priority for retailers beyond the holiday season. And a seamless returns process is even more critical as consumers continue to seek increased flexibility over their returns, with 55% preferring to return purchases online, and nearly 50% noting long lines as the biggest hassle to making a return.

OLS Payments is helping retailers improve their returns processes by adding the latest in tokenization and encryption security to their payments systems. Those who have implemented transaction-based payments tokenization can refer to these best practices to ensure a frictionless returns experience throughout “Returnuary”. For those who haven’t started the process, our team of experts can help you understand how transaction-based payments tokenization can help your business.

What are you waiting for? Contact us today to meet your shoppers’ expectations for a fast and secure returns process.

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