6 Best Practices for your eCommerce Returns Policy
1. Provide customers with straightforward guidelines which are easy to find
Visitors to an eCommerce store must be immediately aware of the returns policy. Returns procedures strongly influence the purchase decision, especially when a customer is not yet 100% ready to buy. Offering hassle-free returns and covering the shipping costs eliminate barriers to making the sale. The goal is to eliminate any confusion on how to return a product, so customers seeking answers can quickly find them. If a customer is after a return, they are already unhappy with a product, so leverage the interaction to give a favourable impression of your service levels and help restore the customer experience.
Benefits of Offering a Lenient, Easy-To-Understand Returns Policy
2. Offer free shipping for returns
Free shipping on returns is a cost, which makes it important to track the extra conversions this generous policy creates, as well as the boost to customer retention levels. Despite the short term expense, the goodwill generated through free shipping is significant. Research in 2012 discovered that offering free returns led to customer recommendations in 29% of respondents. Large companies like Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue recognise this and already offer free returns.
Top Four Factors for Recommending a Retailer
3. Make your returns policy part of your omni-channel strategy
Traditionally, retailers did the opposite by implementing rules and restrictions to reduce short-term return rates. However, this was done at the expense of frustrating customers to the point they never again made a purchase. Today, the trend has shifted and many eCommerce businesses are going out of their way to make returns as simple as possible. With 42% of consumers still looking to retailers to further simplify product returns, companies must prioritise creating an omni-channel returns policy for greater convenience and flexibility for customers. Prepaid shipping labels can be very useful to expedite the returns process, in addition to clearly stating the return policy online. In-store returns should be offered to all customers for brick and mortar retailers so that unhappy customers have as many channels as possible to reach a solution and have a positive customer experience.
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