Although eCommerce sales numbers are ever-climbing, customers continue to report that there’s a lot left to be desired with the experience.
According to an ongoing study by UPS, returns satisfaction is among the areas where online shoppers are least satisfied, even when considering brick-and-mortar stores with online shops. A mere 67 percent of shoppers reported that they felt their retailers provided them with a “clear and easy return policy” in 2016.
Now is the time to set your returns management game on fire, before the busy holiday shopping season starts. You don’t really need to do anything crazy or make budget-busting offers, you just need to be more consistent. It’s easier than you might think.
Here are some tips for shaping up your returns management policy:
- Put it in writing. Simply saying you have a “no questions asked” returns policy doesn’t really cover it, does it? What happens if a customer returns an item that you didn’t send to them or the product has been very clearly and maliciously destroyed? You need a returns policy that’s in writing—just because you won’t hassle your customers doesn’t mean you can’t have some rules.
- Make it easy to find. Consistency is all about getting everyone on the same page, but that’s almost impossible when your customers can’t find your returns policy or your employees have to hunt it down in order to read through the rules. Make it easy for everyone to find, put that returns policy in big, bold letters and explain anything that seems unclear. Hiding specific exemptions within generic legalese is the best way to create a misunderstanding, so always strive for clarity.
- Allow yourself to say no. Realize it’s ok to say no, but don’t dance around that point. Specify exactly what conditions will result in no refunds, such as items that are returned outside of the shipping window, or that are sent back in unsellable conditions. This is your store, and as long as the rules are clear and easy to find, customers can’t say they didn’t know before they made their purchases. Don’t make exceptions, don’t add “buts,” just say no. Yes to this, no to that. Keep it simple for everyone.
The key to a good returns policy is consistency — and all that really takes is keeping it clear and simple. Exceptions, complications and special rules just serve to make it more difficult for everyone to understand how your return policy applies to their situation, so instead of burying your customers and employees in rules, make it easy.
Don’t be ashamed of having some rules about returns, instead make it easy to find those rules and put everything in writing. Your customers will be so much happier with your reverse #logistics process because they won’t be struck with unexpected complications.