Is a “Try-Before-You-Buy” Program Right for You?

More ecommerce retailers are launching try-before-you-buy programs that work like no-hassle, free of charge returns. When implemented correctly, try-before-you-buy programs have many benefits. They close the gap between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar retail by removing shipping costs and the risk that comes with buying an item sight unseen over the Internet. In other words, they make for a very attractive incentive to shop at your site. However, they are also a source of some extreme challenges in terms of logistics and fulfillment. Is your business able to address the challenges of such a program? In this post, we’ll look at some criteria you should meet before implementing a try-before-you-buy program.

Small, High-Margin Items – Try-before-you-buy programs can get expensive fast because they increase the volume of your shipments and returns. You can off-set these costs by restricting the program to items that are less expensive to ship and can make up the cost if the customer decides to purchase them.

Detailed Product Info – Clothing and fashion items are the most common items in try-before-you-buy programs, and they also serve as a good example here. Do the sizing standards for your clothes match-up with the rest of the industry? If they tend to run large or small, it’s important to notify your customers so they place more accurate orders and avoid a potential return. The more product information you can provide customers, the more confidence they’ll have when they order the item – making them more likely to keep it.

Smooth Return Process – Obviously, your reverse logistics capabilities will be the backbone of a try-before-you-buy program. Work closely with your logistics manager to make sure they understand inventory capacity levels and the amount of incoming returns. Most importantly, the right fulfillment management system can give you the data you need to easily track returns and even automate parts of the process.

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