Return policies might seem like a headache for e-commerce retailers, but they’re an essential part of managing how customers return and exchange unwanted merchandise. The return policy tells people what items can be returned within the specified time frame to lessen any confusion for the customer. No matter how great your products are, customers will sometimes send back what they buy from you, especially when it comes to purchases that have to fit their figures and personal tastes, like clothes and shoes.
A poorly implemented returns system can cause your business to suffer negative consequences, including a decrease in conversion rate and lost customers. It’s important that when people have issues with their purchases they get taken care of quickly so negativity doesn’t spread online or by word of mouth. Google doesn’t let you remove a review just because it’s bad, so try to avoid getting any!
Why Is Your Returns Process Important?
Before you ship off your first package to your first customer, create a return policy and make sure all of your employees — especially those who field customer calls — understand it.
The return policy is one of the most important aspects for consumers when making purchases. If they don’t know what your company’s policies are, how can you expect them to buy from you? The majority of people (54%) say they are unlikely to purchase a product they want if the retailer has a poor or unclear return policy, according to a consumer survey by Pitney Bowles.
Make Returns Easy And Fair
When you make your return policy clear, fair, and easy, your customers will feel they’ve been treated well and will want to do business with you again. Easy returns = happy customers.
Here are several things to consider as you create your return policy and process:
- How long will customers have to return an item? Create a window: 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days are common. But be sure to put a limit on it. Don’t leave the time period open-ended.
- Tell customers what form their refund will take. Will it be a credit back to the method of payment they used? Or will they get a replacement? A credit minus shipping costs?
- Be upfront about who pays for return shipping. Customers consider it underhanded when they aren’t made aware of such costs at the outset.
- Brainstorm with staff on ways to make returns easy for customers. Look at how companies known for superior customer service handle theirs. Think about things like enclosing return shipping labels.
- Encourage customers to call a toll-free number so they can talk about why they are returning an item. This could help you identify issues with products so you can make needed adjustments.
- Have a customer service rep available on social media. According to Hootsuite, 64% of people would rather message than call a business, and 69% of U.S. Facebook users who message businesses say it makes them feel more confident about the brand.
After your return policy is created:
The homepage of your website is the first place your return policy should be. If it is posted in a prominent place, the less likely it is that a customer will complain about not knowing how to locate the policy. The footer is also a popular spot for including your return policy and some companies even make it part of the checkout process. Plus, you should always print out an easy-to-follow copy inside every package that ships. We suggest adding these two things: First – include instructions about how customers can get in touch if there are any problems with their purchases; second – put clear details regarding dates, what types of items can be returned, etc.
Go over the policy with all of your employees so they can answer questions they may receive from customers. Don’t allow a situation to arise when an employee doesn’t know how to answer a question about returns, or even worse, processes a return that should not have been accepted.
Don’t Sweat It
In today’s world of e-commerce, returns have become an integral part of the process. As more people turn to online shopping for goods and services than ever before – this means that there will be a higher demand on how retailers handle those situations when things don’t go as planned. Also, keep in mind that returns are a great way to learn about your company and your products. Use that data to plan for the future.
Returns might seem daunting or challenging to handle, but if you have a detailed plan in place, you will be set up for success.
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