Managing eCommerce returns is a crucial part of doing business online. Almost every retailer has to deal with returned items at one time or another. And customers who are unhappy with their online purchases have only one place to turn.
Return policies can make or break your eCommerce business, so it’s crucial to figure out how you want to handle returns right from the start. You will need to communicate that policy clearly on your website, within your Return Policy page, and in product descriptions.
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When you’re choosing a return policy, consider the following factors:
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Industry and Target Customers
You know your business better than anyone. Only you can determine what kind of customer experience will keep your shoppers coming back time and time again. If you prefer to err on the side of customer satisfaction, a free return policy and generous warranty may be in order.
If your customers tend to be more conservative with their purchases, an “all sales final” return policy could be what they’re looking for. Just note that this kind of policy will likely get fewer returns, but it could result in fewer sales as well.
What Type of Return Policy Fits Your Company Best?
A liberal return policy is likely to help build customer loyalty and increase repeat purchases. But, because returns will cost you money. A conservative return policy might be the best choice for your business if you want to keep prices low and discourage customer returns.
What Is the Cost of Doing Business?
If you are running a mom-and-pop operation, you might be able to absorb certain kinds of costs more quickly than a large corporation. But every business has fixed charges that must be paid regardless of whether or not an order is placed.
These can include warehouse rent, salaries for employees, and utilities like electricity and water. So when you’re deciding on a return policy, remember that it’s not just about returns.
Ways to reduce eCommerce returns
1. Provide product descriptions that accurately reflect your merchandise
These descriptions should be easy to find on your site. And they should be clear, thorough, and provide enough information so that shoppers are confident about what they’re buying. Any sizing or fit issues can also be identified in product descriptions.
2. Provide exemplary customer service
Answer emails quickly and accurately, respond to live chat requests promptly and offer a toll-free number for phone calls.
3. Use a secure checkout page
Ensure your web server is encrypted or that any ordering process requires SSL encryption. It will protect the transmission of sensitive data like credit card numbers.
4 . Provide clear return policies
It should be easy to find on your site and individual product pages. If you decide on a liberal return policy, let shoppers know that they can expect to be credited for their returns quickly.
5 . Have an easy-to-use returns process
It should be anywhere customers can find it within your site, including return policy pages and product pages.
6 . Give clear instructions on how to prepare returns
Some eCommerce companies don’t want items returning to their warehouse in used or worn-out condition, while others are more flexible. Make sure you specify this in your return policy and provide clear instructions to customers on how to package their returns.
The best return policy is one that you can afford. You want customers to be satisfied with their purchases, but you don’t want them to take advantage of your goodwill. Your return policy should reflect the needs of your business and your customers.
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