If you haven’t jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon yet, now is the time to start. In 2021, online shopping counted for 19.6% of retail sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to e-commerce or have been in the game for a while.
A return policy is a business basic. At some point, a customer will want to return your product. Maybe the customer was unhappy with the results. Perhaps the product arrived damaged. Whatever the scenario, a return policy sets guidelines for you and your customer.
And a good or bad return policy can make or break your business. Let’s dive into why this is and how you can write (and promote) a great e-commerce return policy.
Why a great e-commerce policy is key for repeat clients?
Online purchasing is a risky endeavor. Shoppers can’t hold the product in their hands like they can in a brick-and-mortar business. They put their trust in many hands for ordering and shipment.
Consumer experience has much to do with the return process as much as the shopping experience. Great return policies and helpful customer service almost guarantee repeat customers.
How to write a return policy?
We know how important returns are to e-commerce, and we understand that having a return policy is essential to meet the demand. But what do you include in your return policy for e-commerce to keep everyone happy?
A return policy doesn’t need to be fancy. But there are a few must-haves to include in your policy. Let’s discuss six essential steps to creating an excellent return policy.
Step 1: Make sure the language is easy to understand
A return policy shouldn’t be filled with business jargon that only a lawyer can read. Use plain English, and be clear and concise. Avoid scary terms like “we are not held responsible for…” or “you must.”
Write as if the customer was standing in front of you asking about your policy. Use a conversational tone.
Step 2: Specify the time frame
How long do your customers have before the return is invalid? Do they have 30 days or 60 days? Informing your customers of how much time they have is crucial for creating an effective return policy.
When deciding how much time your customers have, consider where they live. E-commerce stores tend to have international customers. Offer plenty of time to return a product overseas.
E-commerce stores usually offer 15-30 days for returns. This gives people plenty of time to choose if they like a product and saves plenty of time for shipping.
Step 3: Define conditions
Sometimes products arrive damaged, and a customer needs to return a product. This should be perfectly acceptable given that it wasn’t the customer’s fault. However, it’s a different scenario when a customer uses the product, damages it, and keeps it for a more extended time before deciding to return it
Specify the conditions of the product to be deemed acceptable for a return.
Step 4: Define requirements
Be clear about what a customer needs to return a product. For instance, some businesses require packages to be unopened or a receipt with the returned product. Other businesses require authorization numbers, shipping addresses, or the same credit card used on the transaction to be used for the return.
Step 5: Specify what the customer can expect from you
Maybe the client liked the product, but it wasn’t the right fit. Can the customer exchange the product for something else? Or perhaps get store credit? Decide what works for your e-commerce business (and what doesn’t) and be clear about what customers can expect from you.
Step 6: Specify any return fees
If your business must charge a restocking or shipping fee, clearly state this on your policy. Remember to step into your customer’s shoes. If the product comes damaged and the customer has to pay a shipping or restocking fee, odds are the customer won’t shop at your store again.
Helping your customers out in this way will build loyalty and trust with you and your customers.
How to promote a return policy?
Make the policy easy to find
Most people know that to find the return policy, you scroll to the bottom header on the website. But don’t assume everyone will know this.
Consider if your business will have a high return percentage. LEMS shoes post their policy on their front page because they have a high return volume. Whatever your scenario, make it easy to find and ensure it makes sense to your business.
Don’t copy and paste
Don’t copy and paste another business’ policy onto your website. Not every business is created equal. What another business does may not work for yours. Also, it’s not nice to copy!
Pay for free shipping
If you can pay for shipping. Customers are more likely to buy from you if they know that shipping is covered if they need to return the product. Promote it on your website for your customers to clearly see. It’s even better if you can offer numerous shipping options.
Provide return labels
If you can pay for shipping, provide shipping labels. Ideally, you should print labels and deliver the label with the return bag. You can also email the return label to cut costs, and the customer can print the label if a return is necessary.
Educate your staff
Make sure your team knows the return policy. Customers are going to ask questions about your return policy. Why does this matter? Who better to spread the word than the people that speak to your customers the most?
A return policy is vital to your e-commerce business. The market is leaning heavily toward e-commerce every day. Businesses everywhere are opening up their doors online and need a return policy that’s simple and effective.
Ultimately, a solid return process is a way of building trust with your customer. We know how hard it is to build that trust. That’s why we take pride in our delivery service. Every package is more than a number. It’s a way to connect to your customers.
You have great products, and we want to see them in the hands of your customers! Get in touch and let’s discuss the next steps for your and your consumers.