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When a shopper steps inside a store, their gaze fixed on the return counter while awkwardly carrying a crumpled box under their arm, the spotlight shifts to the retailer. This is their moment to shine or falter. The way a store handles this crucial interaction can turn a simple return into a golden opportunity to secure a customer's loyalty and significantly enhance the customer's lifetime value (CLV).

With AI-powered technology, retailers can ensure a return system is pleasant, secure, and predictable. The right platform can shape every return experience into one that encourages additional shopping while mitigating the risk of loss.

Measuring the impact of customer experience on loyalty 

It’s understandable to think that if a shopper has a bad return experience, they’re prone to go elsewhere. A study from the Reverse Logistics Association echoes that theory, finding:

  • 84% of shoppers said a positive return experience brings them back to the retailer.
  • More than 80% of shoppers said they read the return policy and 44% will seek an alternative store if they disagree with it.

Ensuring customers have a positive experience directly impacts loyalty, and technology can boost the return experience and keep them loyal.  

The right platform can shape every return experience into one that encourages additional shopping while mitigating the risk of loss.

Accounting for customer expectations using AI and predictive analytics

To understand what a customer wants in a return is to know the shopper personally — a task where AI and predictive analytics step into the limelight. Appriss Retail champions a forward-thinking approach: leverage technology to stay a step ahead of customer behavior, rather than merely responding to it.

Predictive analytics harnesses the power of shopper feedback and data from past transactions to tailor the return process to individual needs. This approach not only pinpoints what customers are looking for but also anticipates their future expectations, refining its insights with every piece of feedback. 

Technology transforms the return process in two pivotal ways:

  1. Encourages additional purchases. Using the information available at the time of return or purchase, a retailer can offer targeted, personalized incentives that drive new revenue within hours of a return.
  2. Streamline the omnichannel experience. Providing a consistent return experience in-store and online, as well as for BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store) purchases, can increase customer loyalty. Cutting-edge platforms integrate various shopping behaviors to ensure a frictionless experience across all channels.

Relying on AI-powered technology to deliver exceptional customer service 

A more front-facing factor of the shopper experience in-store and online is how retailers support associates and call centers. Technology can help managers coach and bridge this interaction.  

AI-powered platforms can analyze interactions between employees and customers to identify any gaps in training or highlight associates in need of additional help. The technology effectively helps managers coach associates. Other support measures include:

  • Trust the process. Training customer service representatives should be a continual process to instill the best ways to manage returns.
  • Develop communication strategies. Help associates understand return policies and how to explain them easily to consumers.
  • Prioritize the customer experience. Coach associates on how to listen first, handle customer complaints, and resolve issues stress-free.

To understand what a customer wants in a return is to know the shopper personally — a task where AI and predictive analytics step into the limelight. 

Leveraging technology to improve the customer experience 

There are several tactics retailers can deploy to keep both associates and shoppers happy during a return. Data analytics that integrate shopper insights into the return process, along with AI and automation to personalize customer interactions, are delivering a positive impact on returns.

Utilizing mobile apps and digital platforms can help train associates via modules and offer real-time feedback, while also aiding more personalized and less rigid return policies. 

At the heart of this transformation is technology. It's not just about smoothing out bumps in the road; it's about paving entirely new pathways to loyalty. With every thoughtful interaction and tailored return policy, technology is not just supporting a better return experience — it's creating a legion of loyal shoppers, one positive return at a time.

Navigating Challenges to Achieve a Successful AI-Driven Retail Experience



Libby Cooper, Director of Customer Success, Appriss Retail

Libby Cooper, the Director of Customer Success at Appriss Retail, brings over a decade of experience to her role, specializing in supporting ecommerce and retail customers through analytics and machine learning solutions. With a background deeply rooted in understanding the digital landscape, Libby is dedicated to guiding businesses toward sustainable growth and enhanced customer experiences. Having previously served as part of the Customer Success leadership team at Contentsquare, she cultivated an environment of collaborative growth, nurturing both company expansion and client partnerships by committing to excellence, and honing practical insights and strategies to help clients navigate today's dynamic market. Libby's passion lies in leveraging technology and data to drive tangible results, fostering strong relationships with clients, and delivering exceptional value.

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