Not all gifts are homeruns. But statistics show customers will work up a taste for your business if you handle returns like a pro.
Shoppers will increase their spending by as much as 58 to 357 percent over a 2-year-period when they receive a free return from an online retailer, according to one study.
Although free returns may not be financially feasible for most small online retailers (or giants like Amazon, for that matter), a hassle-free e-commerce returns process is the recipe for improved customer loyalty.
As you brace for the post-holiday rush of returns, here’re the main ingredients of a delicious (and exceptionally unique) "e-commerce returns process pie”:
Whip up the excitement with an announcement that you will extend your return policy to accommodate everyone who actually planned ahead and got their holiday shopping done early. If you normally allow returns within 30 days of purchase, you may consider extending it another month. Chances are shoppers who return gifts will exchange them for something else ― and come back for more another time ― when they know you put their needs first.
Spell out the ingredients ― sorry, we mean return policy ― as clearly as possible. Now is not the time to write a legal essay. Using the return policy to deter returns is an old-school strategy that only serve to drive customers to a friendlier site. Create a brief, bulleted list that is easy to read and follow.
Hidden costs or penalties have no business in your return policy. If you can’t offer free returns, simply deduct the cost of shipping from the refund. Although sites like Zappos have built their success on 365-day free returns, customers will put up with paying a reasonable shipping charge as long as the rest of the process is a piece of cake.
Don’t play hide and seek. Like a delicious pie tucked away in the back of a bakery, you do yourself no favors by placing your return policy in some dark corner of your e-commerce site. A generous return policy is actually one of your primary selling points. Include it on customer correspondence, receipts, and in packages to show just how good you are.
Consider the last leg of the return the cherry on top of the pie. Provide printable labels and detailed tracking to instill confidence that the product will make a swift journey back to where it came from.
And that’s what we call a successful bake.
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