5 E-commerce Returns Best Practices To Boost Sales and Customer Loyalty
One major factor that dictates where e-commerce customers choose to shop is the existence or lack of a fair and comprehensive return policy.
Implementing a great e-commerce return policy isn’t rocket science. Here are five best practices to reduce your e-commerce return rate and increase customer loyalty.
Your e-commerce returns policy should be easy to find
Whatever your return policy may be, it should be clear, easy to read, and easy to find on your website. Whether it’s an FAQ section or a clearly laid out web page, you should include prominent links that make your e-commerce return policy easy to find on your web and mobile site.
Having a return policy that’s clearly worded and easy to find builds trust with your customers and leaves less room for frustration as they figure out when and how to make returns. This trust can lead to increased sales. Clear expectations in your return policy also means you get fewer people calling your call center about returns, which saves you time and money.
Include clear deadlines in your e-commerce return policy
Even though your e-commerce return policy was an important part of the buying decision, most of your customers didn’t expect they would have to return something. Don’t make your policy so dense that an advanced degree is required to make sense of it and do give a deadline, so your customers get it done. Don’t hide your deadline in the fine print; state it prominently, in bold type in more than one place on your returns page.
A clear e-commerce returns policy that sets expectations for the time period during which customers can return an item allows your customers to understand what’s required of them in the returns process. They are less likely to blame you for a return that goes wrong if they know your return deadline in advance.
A clear timeline for returns can also help you predict revenue, since you can book the profit for sales that are older than the return deadline with no fear that you’ll have to give a refund.
Make return labels easy to print
When you provide an online portal that makes returns easy, you save time for both you and your customer. Let customers view their orders and select which items they are returning. From there, it should just take a click to print a return label.
By making the return process simpler, you help your customers make their returns more quickly and with less hassle. Faster returns also mean quicker turnaround for you. By giving your customers the incentive to quickly and easily return a product, you spend less time with reduced inventory. That allows you to get your merchandise into another customer’s hands more quickly.
In addition, an online returns process protects you from return fraud. Some customers will try to take advantage of returns by claiming that everything is in the return box when it isn’t. Others may be confused.
To overcome these issues, create a return list showing all the items being sent back. Ask your customer to print the list and put it in the box with the returns. This pick list will help keep your customers honest and make it easy for fulfillment staff to determine if the return is in order.
Illustrate your returns process
We are all overwhelmed by how much content we need to absorb in our hyper-connected world. If your e-commerce returns policies are spelled out in a page of dense, fine print, your customers’ eyes will glaze over. This is the opposite of the transparency that’s so important for a successful returns policy.
One way to overcome this is to make your policy easy to understand with graphics, icons, and images. In addition, graphics give cues to help your customers easily understand how returns work on your site.
Don’t consider a return the end of the line with your customer. That customer was interested enough in your business to place an order; there’s a good chance you can lure them back. After a return, re-engage with your customer to keep the relationship alive.
If you handled the return right, you left your customer with a warm, fuzzy feeling. That person could become a loyal and profitable repeat customer.