A bitter fact, but every retailer has to digest that with more sales comes the possibility of more returns. It’s true that returns are expensive to retailers, as they tax retailer’s capital and lead to lower profit-margins. So, retailers should understand, how important it is to handle returns. They should know that when a customer is not happy with the products and claims for a return, they have to quickly and efficiently process the returns. An efficient returns-handling leads to building customer loyalty, improving lifetime values.
Efficient returns also contributes to an efficient inventory management – maintaining forecast and return rates within inventory levels in turn preventing out-of-stock and backorders scenarios.
A comprehensive return policy will shrink the time and money you spend in handling returns as well as reduce return rates and keep customer coming back. Here are some effective tips that will help you create the best, user-friendly and effective return policy:
Use simple language
In today’s world, no one has time to go through pages of complicated language and technical terms to find out what they want, as in, how can they quickly return products that they purchased from you? So, keep your return policy simple and to the point avoiding difficult terminology that will only confuse customer and lead to an increase in service request. This will cost more time and money, that could have been easily saved by having a well-written policy in place.
Avoid bossy phrases
Would you like anyone commanding over you? Same way your customers will not like any bossy language used in your return policy. Avoid using phrases like “you must” or “you are required” and the worst one “we are not responsible.” These words, will make your customers fell insecure to purchase from your site. So, use humble language and keep your return policy as simple as possible.
Provide stipulated time for returns
The most important point in your return policy is to mention stipulated time for returns. Generally, the standard timeframe is 15-30 days since the purchase date.This is very important because with no timeframe for returns in your policy will lead to real nightmare, wherein you will find customers shipping products and claiming for returns after months or even years (not kidding) after their purchase. This is not at all good for your business.
Have a transparency in cost of returns
If you messed up, either by shipping a wrong products or poor packing then you need to incur the cost of returns. But, in cases wherein the customer has to pay for the shipping, make it clear in your policy. Nothing is worst than getting hit by a hidden cost. Never hide cost of returns in your return policy.
Define the expected condition of returns
Another expensive mistake would be, not mentioning the expected condition of returns in your policy. So, ensure you define the condition of product must be in order to claim and process the returns. If your overlook this point, then you will receive used or damaged products from customers who will claim for a return. So, being clear is always being happy!
Compare with other sites but do not copy paste
When you plan to create a return policy, it is always suggested to refer your competitors site and check if you could take a step above you competitors policy, but do not copy paste them as a return and exchange policy is not a one-size, fits all scenarios. Therefore, you can refer your competitors site but customize it to your specific business.
Offer refund instead of in-store credit
Many businesses offer in-store credit instead of refunds to compensate for the returns. Some customers may like the concept of in-store credit in case of returns, but frustrated customers will never ever settle down for a in-store credit. Therefore, mention appropriate refund structure in your returns policy to avoid confusion.
Educate your staff well with the policy
If a member of your staff miscommunicates the return policy to your customer, can lead to a huge confusion in turn you will not only waste time and money, but also end up losing potential customers. Ensure you educate your staff well with the return policy and procedure so that they can easily and quickly address customers effectively.
Display more of return policy in your FAQ’s
Ensure that they most frequently asked questions (and answers) associated with your return policies are informative, easy to find, and easy for all customers to understand.
Position your return policy at the right place on your site
Once you are happy with the return policy that you have completed, ensure you post it evidently on your site. Promote it through a link on your homepage, product page as well as at the footer of the website. This way you keep yourself safe, making your return policy visible to all. Also, you can send a copy of the return policy with every shipment.
With these above steps, you can create the best return policy. Also, you can make changes to the policy which are not working for your company. But, ensure to well-update and inform customers with the policy change that you made.