When it comes to returns management, eCommerce companies are often concerned about the real costs of accepting merchandise back.
Although it may cost a little extra to pay for your customers to send their purchases to your reverse logistics facility, you should always offer free returns. Even with the additional expense, you may find you come out significantly better financially when your customers can easily return merchandise that’s just not working for them.
These are just a few reasons to offer free returns, whether through free shipping or free in-store returns:
1. Hassle-free returns get inventory back on your shelves.
The harder it is for a customer to return their items, the longer they’re going to procrastinate. That doesn’t mean they won’t return their wrong-color shirts or wrong-size shoes, it just means they’re going to put it off until those items are all but out of season and you have to sell them at a discount just to keep from having to store them for another three seasons.
2. People make purchases when they make returns.
Millennials, especially, make new purchases when they return things on the web (53 percent of the time, according to UPS), as well as when they return items in-store (75 percent of the time). So, not only could that return really be an exchange, the chances are better than half that the customer will be adding at least one additional item to their order. Free return shipping is a great way to encourage more sales, even if it doesn’t seem like it should be.
3. You can use it as a promotion tool.
Believe it or not, a lot of companies don’t offer free returns, which can be seriously off-putting to customers. UPS found that 60 percent of online shoppers believe that free return shipping was a vital element to the best returns experience. When customers don’t have to worry about having to pay for their returns, whether that’s shipping or a restocking fee, they’re much more willing to give a new company a try. After all, what do they have to lose?
Free returns should never be a question, especially if you’re not offering free shipping from your eCommerce store. Customers frequently hesitate to try new retailers when they’re not certain about their return options or their returns management choices. Why alienate a customer for life when you could win a loyal customer instead?