Best Practices for Creating and Implementing a Returns Policy
Customer returns are an inevitable part of your online business (it’s not viable to tell customers they can’t return a product these days). If you don’t have a good returns process in place, now is the time to create one so you don’t end up losing business to your competitors who do accept returns. But there are some best practices you can follow to minimize the impact of returns on your total profits and still make customers feel comfortable buying your products.
Creating Your Policy
The best online returns policies are ones that are easy for your customers and reasonable for you. Most customers don’t expect every online store to offer the same generous policies of huge retailers like Zappos, but they do need to know if they are unhappy with a purchase they can get their money back or a store credit.
Other best practices include:
- Making your policy visible and easy to find on the website
- Writing your own policy from scratch so it addresses your specific needs (don’t just copy and paste it from another site or a template)
- Making it easy to read and understand without a bunch of legalese, and avoiding phrases like “we are not responsible for” that put extra responsibility on your customers
- Including detailed information about the process and timeline; clearly indicate whether they can get refunds or store credit and be realistic about how long it will take
- Providing contact information so they can reach out with additional questions and make sure your staff is educated about the return policy
Implementing Your Policy
For many online retailers, writing and posting a returns policy is the easy part. Implementing it on the back end is much more difficult. Reverse logistics platforms can help you track and streamline returns so you don’t end up losing more money or making customers mad when things get lost or refunds get delayed. A good platform can also help you get products restocked for resale, diverted to be sold for a discount, recycled or disposed of properly so they’re not sitting in your warehouse taking up space and gathering dust.
A good returns policy helps customers trust you as a retailer and makes them more likely to shop with you again in the future. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Marketing found that customers are 58% to 357% more likely to be repeat customers if you offer an easy returns process. A good process on the back end with a reverse logistics platform ensures that offering a return policy doesn’t cut into your overall profits.
If you are ready to start investing in your returns policy and reverse logistics process, learn how the ReverseLogix easy and intuitive platform can help.