The bottom line of a successful return process, like any aspect of a thriving business, is a good customer experience. With this is mind, ask yourself a basic question: are your e-store return policies working for or against you?
#1 Expecting customers to walk the gauntlet for a refund
Customers want to know that if they have an issue with a purchase there is a remedy. In other words, they can return it without a hassle.
So never ask them too many questions or make them wait too long for a credit. If you do, they’ll feel like they’re being interrogated or that their refund is an inconvenience.
#2 Thinking it’s okay to have a restocking fee to cover costs
It’s not, unless, of course, you want your e-store return policies to piss off your customers.
The truth is that unless you’re offering convenient, efficient, and customer-friendly policies, you’ll likely not attract many customers in the long run. Simply put, they’ll have taken their business elsewhere.
#3 Failing to track their ecommerce store’s return rates
An e-store’s return rates will depend on the type of items they sell and the type of customer they sell to. And this can vary.
Some stores with lots of repeat customers who know their products will have lower-than-average return rates (which may increase a bit after the holidays). Others who sell items like clothing and shoes will have much higher return rates year round.
The bottom line is that understanding and planning for how product returns will affect your particular store’s profit margins will help keep it profitable.
#4 That small online stores can’t afford to offer free returns
They can as long as they consider it a marketing “cost,” of sorts.
Customers look at a store’s return policy before making a purchase. And while it’s no surprise they overwhelmingly prefer free returns, what is surprising is that many prefer it even over free shipping. You can turn this into an effective marketing strategy.
#5 Not considering the long-term growth of their business
Many sellers don’t think about their e-store return policies and therefore don’t put too much time into the initial planning. Or, they don’t think of it as an important investment in the future.
But if they looked at the bigger picture, they’d see that any return-related costs (or hassles) now are far exceeded by the customers’ lifetime value to their business.
Having a clear return policy makes buyers feel secure and confident when making an online purchase. And this, in the end, is what will help a business grow and prosper.
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