Yay! Someone has bought a product from your eCommerce store. The bad news is, they’re now looking to return their purchase. Except actually, it’s not all bad because returns present an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction.
Research reveals that 92% of shoppers will purchase from a merchant again if their return process is easy — “easy” being the keyword. Yet few store owners give enough thought to how to improve this aspect of their business. Fortunately, robust returns management platforms exist to help you streamline your post-purchase customer experience.
In this article, we’ll do an in-depth, head-to-head comparison between AfterShip Returns Center and Returnly. Read on if you’ve been exploring the two for your online store and learn everything you need to pick the best option.
Returnly vs. AfterShip Returns Center: Platform Capabilities
When it comes to choosing a returns management system, the very first thing to consider is the platform’s capabilities. What features does it provide to customers for self-service? How does it accelerate the returns approval process? Does it offer any insight into the key reasons for product returns? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you choose the right solution for your eCommerce business.
Without further ado, let’s find out how Returnly’s capabilities stack up against AfterShip’s.
Returns management portal
Having visibility into all your returns is key to increasing operational efficiency and fulfilling RMA requests faster. Yet, chances are you don’t have a proper system to gather and categorize returns information.
AfterShip offers a returns management portal that lets you keep track of all your returns in one place. It’s equipped with a fast filter and search option that helps you categorize return requests by the return method, status, carrier, or customer email. You can also see return statuses at a glance and approve or reject requests with one click.
Returns Center also offers the option to approve returns automatically. This involves offering a no questions asked return policy and initiating refunds to boost customer loyalty. Plus, it’s easy to switch to manual approvals for high-value or specific items to minimize the return fraud rate.
Returnly’s portal also offers great search and filter options and automatic return approvals, but its interface isn’t as intuitive as the AfterShip Returns Center. Additionally, AfterShip supports 17 carriers for printing return labels, whereas Returnly only supports 2 carriers by default (USPS and Canada Post).
Branded returns page
While most store owners genuinely want to provide the best returns experience to their customers, they don’t have enough resources to compete with giants like Amazon, who attract (and retain) a lot of customers with their exceptional returns experience.
Fortunately, both Returnly and AfterShip Returns Center allow you to set up a branded returns page, ensuring your customer experience is personalized, always. They also let customers start the return process quickly by entering their order number and email address. Here’s how it looks in action:
There are some areas where AfterShip’s branded returns page is a notch above Returnly’s offering. With AfterShip, you can:
- Use a drag-and-drop builder to build returns pages
- Display your top-featured products to increase store sales
- Create multilingual returns pages instead of a standard one
Returnly’s branded returns page does not support these sub-features at the time of writing.
Providing real-time updates to customers at every stage of returns handling can not only cut down on queries for your support staff but can also drive repurchases and brand loyalty. After all, customers love transparency around returns and exchanges.
Again, both Returnly and AfterShip Returns Center empower you with the functionality to deliver proactive return status updates to your customers, with AfterShip Returns offering a little more on top:
- Fully branded notifications without Returns Center’s stamp
- Syncing with support and inventory management teams
- Customer timezone-based SMS updates
- Multilingual SMSes and email scheduling
Routing rules, analytics, and more
Besides the features we highlighted above, Returnly and AfterShip Returns Center offer other functions to improve your store's online returns experience. However, we couldn't find much info for them via the Returnly website to make an in-depth comparison.
AfterShip Returns Center offers international routing rules
Want to use a different carrier or return address for varying regions? Returns Center has got you covered with country-specific routing rules. For example, you can send return labels to US-based customers and process returns for customers from “the rest of the world” with their choice of couriers. You can even automate your returns process by using the “if this then that” rule logic.
While Returnly also allows you to set up international routing, you don’t get as many rules as AfterShip tends to provide. Plus, the platform doesn’t offer returns to international shoppers where orders are not placed in the same currency as the store.
Both Returnly and AfterShip Returns Center offer analytics
Returns Center, however, provides you with SKU-level returns data to identify key return reasons, including quality, color, and size for items and their variants. With this information at hand, you can adjust your inventory to optimize your sales and drive lower return rates. For Returnly, we couldn’t confirm if SKU-level insights exist within its analytics.
Automation is at the heart of AfterShip Returns Center and Returnly
AfterShip Returns Center lets you create automation rules that minimize the cost of returns by auto-updating the RMA status once the package is delivered. Plus, it lets you peek into the trends highlighting how quickly your store returns are being processed and what you can do to speed up the processing time.
Returnly is almost equally good in terms of analytics. But we say almost because the Returnly website gives no information about whether or not it offers insights into the average resolution time.
Returnly vs. AfterShip Returns Center: Integrations
Given the importance of cross-functioning between eCommerce SaaS platforms, it’s only natural for you to want all your solutions (shipment tracking, returns management, etc.) to be connected seamlessly.
Returnly integrates well with a handful of solutions out there, but in terms of eCommerce platforms, it only supports Shopify and Shopify Plus. If your store is hosted on any other platform, say BigCommerce or Squarespace, you’re out of luck.
In contrast, AfterShip Returns Center integrates seamlessly with 12 eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and Squarespace, to name a few.
For those subscribed to the complete suite of AfterShip products, you can connect your tech stack to more than 129 tools and platforms, which provides a lot more flexibility.
Returnly pricing vs. AfterShip Returns Center Pricing
Finally, we’ve reached the most interesting bit of this Returnly vs. AfterShip Returns comparison: pricing. Both Shopify returns management apps readily display their price plans on their listing page — we’ve broken them down for you.
Unlike Returnly pricing, AfterShip Returns Center has a free forever plan that allows you to manage up to 3 returns/month.
Returnly price plans are such that free usage is only available for 14 days through its Shopify free trial, after which you would have to pay at least $29/month.
In comparison, AfterShip Returns cheapest paid plan starts at $9/month and comes equipped with auto-approval, label generation, non-returnable rules, FedEx QR code (US only), and more.
Returnly’s highest-priced plan costs $149/month, but there’s no information on how many returns it allows businesses to manage. In contrast, AfterShip’s pro returns plan starts at $99/month and allows up to 400 returns/month. For small and medium-sized stores, this is more than a decent allowance because they’re unlikely to receive these many return requests each month.
The Clear Winner? AfterShip Returns Center
While Returnly and AfterShip Returns Center might be a close match for a returns management solution on paper, it’s clear that AfterShip is more intuitive and flexible overall. The platform offers a great returns portal, multilingual shipment updates, and various integrations for Shopify stores at SMB-friendly pricing.
What’s more, AfterShip Returns Center is a certified DHL Express and FedEx® Compatible solution. You also get 24/7 customer support with AfterShip, so you can always seek help if you get confused about how to configure a certain feature. Want to give it a try? Go ahead – it’s free.