The only thing worse than having to return an item bought online? Figuring out how to return it.

As an online retailer, you likely don’t have an actual brick-and-mortar store. That means any returns to you will have to be sent out by mail, and that can be a hassle for your customers.

Most people don’t like going to the post office. They certainly don’t like struggling with re-packing purchases. So while you can’t save them the trip to the post office, you can certainly make the re-packing process easier. That’s where return-friendly packaging comes in.

What is Return-Friendly Packaging?

Simply put, when the packaging for a customer’s order has been optimized for easy re-packing and return mailing, that’s considered return-friendly packaging.

Returns are a hassle, and on the surface mean lost sales. It’s said that most online retailers have a return rate of 30%

So why make returns easier? Because it actually encourages sales. Customers are more likely to purchase if they know that returns are an easy process. And packaging that’s return-friendly is absolutely part of that.

How do you make your packaging more return-friendly?

Make it easy to return.
Most customers prefer to use the original packaging the item was shipped in. When it’s easy to pack it back up properly, it’s less likely to be damaged and customers stay happier and more patient. Bubble pouches are always a good choice to pack something in.

Return-Friendly Tip! Include a return label in the box, or make it easy to find and print from their online account.

Make it easy to open.
This way, customers won’t have to use knives or scissors. If it’s a box, it isn’t sliced open or ripped. If it’s a bubble mailer or courier bag, it won’t be torn or stretched. Consider packaging with an easy-tear strip, like the Airjacket® Poly Bubble Mailers with PACzip. It’s securely sealed during shipping, and then easily opened upon delivery, without damaging the mailer.

Check out how easy it is to open Airjacket® mailers with easy-tear strips!

Make it easy to re-seal.
There are new e-commerce boxes and mailers coming to market that have a second adhesive strip. All a customer has to do to re-seal it is pull off the second strip’s liner, and close up the box.

Make it attractive.
It’s been shown that when your packaging arrives properly branded and in good condition, customers are more likely to treat it better and hold onto it longer. This is good not only for returns (since the box will be in good shape when it’s sent back), but it keeps your business professional and positive in your customer’s eyes.

Make it recyclable.
This doesn’t technically qualify your packaging as return-friendly. But it makes your business seem more responsible and aware, and customers are always in favor of that.

What are the Advantages?

You’ll save money (and make it!).
Any packaging returned to you in good condition can often be reused again. And remember, when you have a solid return policy, people are more likely to order from you again as well.

You’ll help the Environment.
Reusing your packaging on future orders means less waste ending up in landfills. If you use recyclable packaging materials, you’ll help the environment even more.

You’ll make your customers happy.
No one likes having to fumble with bad packaging or arguing with customer service reps. Return-friendly packaging and a strong returns policy keeps everyone happy.

Your products will return in good condition.
Packaging that’s easy to re-build and seal is more likely to be used properly by customers. That means when their return reaches you, the product will instantly be ready for re-sale.

Return-friendly packaging really does make everything easier. Your customers will have an easier time re-packing and returning their purchases. They’ll be more likely to buy again from you in the future. Your returns and inventory processes will be more streamlined, meaning less headache for you.

When you make it easier for them, you make it easier on yourself. Everybody wins with return-friendly packaging.