When you start an online portal business, do you think your return policy influences your sales in any way? The answer is yes. In fact, according to a survey, more than 60% of the customers base their purchase from an online store on the return policy that they provide. There is always a sense of uncertainty when someone buys a product online. What if they send the wrong size? What if the product doesn’t match what is represented in the pictures? What if the product is not needed anymore? As businessmen, you must respect these uncertainties and apprehensions of the customers. To do so, you should give them the option to return or exchange the products according to convenience. Failure to do so can result in loss of sales and a bad reputation. If you look at most of the big companies these days, one of the significant propagandas for advertisement is the fast return policy that they have in place.
However, there is a chance that customers might exploit these policies as well. They tend to return a product after minimal usage and once their purpose is solved. You have to keep this aspect in mind as well when you are framing the rules. It is best done under the guidance of an expert. In case you need some help regarding the creation and implementation of the return policy, this article might be able to give you a fair perspective.
Fair returns policy
First and foremost, you need to be fair in your returns policy. In doing so, you have to give the benefit of the doubt to the customers. Yes, there is a chance that they may not like the product after getting it. The product might not meet the expectations of the customer. The customer might have even assumed the wrong size for any apparel or accessory and may not be comfortable with it anymore. There can also be no solid reason for returning. Whatever it is, if a customer wants to return a product, he or she should be allowed to do so.
While framing the policy, you should make sure that it is fair. The number of days to return a product should be adequate. There is a concept that you should keep the return days as long as possible. People tend to think that they have time, and they will return the product next week, and by that time, they get used to it. Thus, the retention of the product is more. In short, the return policy should be convenient and fair.
Don’t make the process time-consuming
Once the customer initiates the process of return, you should make sure that the upcoming steps are hassle-free for the customer. People form an opinion about the credibility of an online website based on the time for the return itself. The time taken for pick up of the product and refund or exchange should be as rapid as well.
There is a strategy in place which dictates that you should tell the customer that the process will be taken care of in a week and then actually do it much faster than that to create a positive experience. It is more likely that the customers will come back for more by this process.
Allow free returns
It will be a complete disaster if you charge a customer for returning a product to you. Like mentioned before, the customer should be given the onus to discard anything that they have purchased. If they have to pay to do so, they will never buy anything from you again. Thus, you will lose a significant customer base. Therefore, in your return policy, you should make sure that it is completely free of cost. A perfect example is the American Eagle return policy which allows free return from anywhere in the world.
Money is one aspect that everyone is worried about when buying or returning a product. If you can ensure that there is no discrepancy on that front, you can rest assured that your customers will be impressed. Therefore, start the refund process as soon as a customer asks for a return.
It can be either in the form of cashback or shop tokens or coins that can be used while making the next purchase. This is, again, imperative to make sure that the customers are retained. This is a reliable way to win over your customers and stop any reduction in the sales rate.
Acknowledge the inconvenience
You should always aim to provide products that the customer likes and do not want to return. However, there will always be some exceptions, and you have to go through that process some time or the other. You should never look to shift the blame of inconvenience to the customer. Instead, you should acknowledge and be apologetic about the issues and assure them that the required steps will be taken to avoid such situations again. This will again create a positive customer experience.
Keep all these points in mind when you are framing your return policies, and there are very fewer chances that things will go wrong thereafter.