Returns do not have to equate to lost sales. Rather, hassle-free returns can as an effective marketing and customer retention strategy, as well as providing your business with a competitive edge in many markets. That is why crafting a well-understood return policy is essential to e-commerce sellers. Use simple language and keep the policy as short as possible, while still covering the process in enough detail that it’s not left up to interpretation.
Make your return policy easy to find and include it in all your relevant communications.
- In-store: ensure that customers can quickly link to the policy from any page in your store. Include the full details of the policy on your site. If you have a particularly simple or hassle-free policy, call this out with banners.
- Post-purchase: continue to reference your return policy in confirmation emails and packing slips, setting expectations throughout the process. If you have a short policy, your customers will appreciate that you can include the entire message in these personalized communications. In the case of longer policies, be sure to highlight key aspects and link to your complete policy on your website. Learn more about using ShippingEasy's confirmation emails and packing slip templates.
Clearly detail the return process in your policy using simple language. Longer policies benefit from sections while shorter policies may be adequately explained with a few sentences. In any case, shoppers will want to answers to the following questions:
- How long do they have to return a purchase?
- How do they start the return process?
- Will you issue a refund, credit, or exchange?
- If you do refund, how will customers receive their refund?
- Who will pay for the return shipping?
- If returns are prepaid, how will the customer receive the return postage?
- Are there any extra fees?
- What condition must products be in to be eligible for returns?
- Are there specific restrictions on returning certain types of products?
- Are there specific limitations on international purchases? If you have a large international customer base, be sure that you've carefully researched available carriers before you commit to any specific policies. In many instances, it will not be possible for you to purchase prepaid postage on your customer's behalf.
Do not forget that a large majority of returns are due to no fault of your customer - for details, check out the next section of this guide. You can use your policy to reinforce for your customers that your business makes their satisfaction a top priority. It’s a sure-fire way to build loyalty.