What Should Your Return Policy Be and Why Does It Matter?

With the holidays coming up, it’s easy to focus on upcoming sales, but don’t forget that not all of the merchandise that leaves your store or your ecommerce site will stay away permanently.  It’s likely some of them will arrive back at your store or site in the form of a merchandise return!  So what is your return policy, and what can you do to make it a customer-friendly experience?

There are six common reasons for customer returns:

  1. It did not fit.
  2. The product did not meet my expectations.
  3. I no longer needed it.
  4. No reason.
  5. It was a gift that I didn’t want.
  6. The store shipped the wrong product.

“A 2013 study by comScore found that a convenient and consumer-friendly returns process is essential to compete in ecommerce. The report showed that 67% of consumers were loyal to retailers with flexible and easy return policies; meanwhile, 48% said they were likely to abandon an e-retailer’s shopping cart if an easy returns process was not offered.”

Returns are costly and they raise your customer acquisition cost.  If you make the return process a great customer experience you will acquire a loyal customer.  If the customer has a bad experience, they will definitely share it with their friends and on social media.  A bad return experience can drive people away from your store.

You will want to make sure your store sales associates are well- trained on how to interact and help your customers with returns.  Sales is a service; educate the customers on the products and services you provide. It’s another opportunity for a positive customer experience, and therefore great publicity if your customers spread the word. 

Make sure you find out the reasons for returns and keep track of them.  This will give you valuable information that you can use to try to reduce the number of returns.  It may mean you need a better sizing chart or some more specific employee training.  You can’t eliminate all returns, but if you notice a pattern, you may be able to fix it.

Above all, you still have time before the busy holiday season is here to take a look at what your return policy is right now and make any adjustments that you can to make sure it’s convenient and delivers a great customer experience all year long.

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