Returns. They eat away at your profit margins and eviscerate your conversion rates. According to Statista, return deliveries will cost online retailers more than $500 billion by 2020. And that doesn’t factor in restocking expenses or inventory losses.
But did you know a well-executed ecommerce return policy can actually drive sales and strengthen customer loyalty? That’s because paying attention to your customers’ after-buying experience pays off. According to comScore, 63% of consumers say they actually take the time to read a return policy before deciding whether or not to make a purchase at an online store.
If customers are taking the time to read your return policy, make sure it lives up to the hype. Use our easy to follow return policy checklist to craft one that is detailed and jargon-free:
1. USE PLAIN LANGUAGE
Plain language is communication your audience can understand the first time they read or hear it. When writing your return policy, use:
- “You” and other pronouns
- Active voice
- Short sentences
- Common, everyday words
- Easy-to-read design features (like itemized lists and short paragraphs)
2. SPECIFY A TIMEFRAME FOR RETURNS
Let your customers know how long they have to return a product. Keep in mind that a longer return period increases confidence in your customers and the likelihood of a sale.
3. SET CONDITIONS FOR RETURNS
Because of the intangible nature of online shopping, ecommerce stores get more returns than brick-and-mortars. Some common reasons for returns include:
- A product that was damaged in shipping, or the wrong item was shipped
- A customer purchased the wrong thing
- Gift returns or exchanges
- The product didn’t match the description
But there are also customers who engage in “wardrobing.” That’s when someone buys an item, uses it, and then attempts to return it for a full refund.
Protect yourself from wardrobers by clearly defining the condition a product must be in before a return can be processed. It’s the easiest way to avoid getting stuck with merchandise you can’t restock.
4. CREDIT OR REFUND?
This is a biggie. Let your customers know if you offer full refunds or just in-store credit.
We recommend offering your customers full refunds on returned merchandise that meets your conditions for returns. Shoppers prefer having options for returning products. If you only offer in-store credit, you risk losing a sale before your customers even commit.
5. SHOW FEES & SHIPPING COSTS
Will your customer have to pay for shipping if they return an item? Will they be charged a restocking fee? Be upfront about what it will cost customers to return your products, or you’ll face consumer backlash later.
6. THINK INTERNATIONALLY
Do you have a return policy for international orders? Make sure to provide clear instructions on where returns should be shipped, and how items will be refunded, including shipping fees for preference-based returns. Will refund amounts be credited in the same currency and using the same exchange rate as the original tender?
If you are an international ecommerce selling globally, make sure to include these details.
7. MAKE IT VISIBLE
Your policy won’t matter if your customers can’t find it. Feature a direct link to your return policy on the footer your ecommerce homepage, or make it a part of your checkout process.
We also recommend including a printed copy of your return policy inside every package you ship and inside your email confirmation to customers.
When it comes to your ecommerce return policy, don’t skimp on the details or fill it with legalese. Be upfront with your customers about how you handle returns. You’ll save yourself headaches down the line and, if you offer a generous return policy, be rewarded with more sales.