Regardless of your return policy, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of returns all together. Just keep in mind the most common reasons that customers return products:
- They changed their mind
- Wrong product was shipped
- Package arrived damaged
- Product doesn’t work
- Item failed to meet customers’ expectations
Customer changed their mind:
While you can't keep your customers from changing their minds, you can encourage that they keep their business with you by providing store credit, the option to exchange, or a coupon towards a future purchase.
Wrong product was shipped:
Mistakes happen, but if this accounts for a large percent of your returns then it may be time to review your warehouse practices, including inventory management and shipping processes. ShippingEasy provides several resources that can help any operation:
Package arrived damaged:
With the massive quantities of packages moving through the mailstream, it’s not surprising that they are occasionally damaged during transit. However, as the shipper you can take steps to ensure that products are properly protected from hazards. When shipping high value goods, adding additional protection with shipment insurance further reduces the financial impact of damaged packages. Learn more about protecting your shipments.
Product doesn’t work:
Train your team to troubleshoot issues with the products you sell. Perhaps the item really is a lemon, but maybe your customer just doesn’t understand how to use it. Even basic steps, such as confirming that batteries are correctly installed, can save everyone time and money. You customer will most certainly be happier to know that the problem was user error, so make sure that you team is available and able to help troubleshoot.
Item failed to meet customers’ expectations
One of the hardest parts about selecting a product online is that there is no way to closely inspect the item before making a decision. This can easily lead to misunderstanding and shoppers finding themselves with something that doesn’t match their expectations. Avoid this problem with excellent documentation. Keep in mind these tools:
- Images: capture your products from multiple angles and provide the option to zoom in to view finer details.
- Descriptions: the more detail the better, just be sure that descriptions are well-written and organized. Include a written summary as well as tabular technical specs for each item you sell.
- Customer reviews: provide a forum for customers to review their previous purchases, even offer incentives such as discounts off future purchases or the chance to win a drawing to encourage participation from your customers.
- Sizing charts: when selling a variety of sizes, as is the case with apparel, include an easy to use sizing chart on your site and make it easy to find. This helps make sure that your customer receives the right size the first time and doesn’t have to exchange (or worse yet return the purchase all together).
Can I get a refund on postage for returned items?
In short: No, you cannot.
The reason for this is because shipping carriers provide a service, to send your package from one destination to another within a specified timeframe. When your package enters the delivery “stream” then it considered shipped and the carriers have done their job, so you cannot get a refund on that label, even if your customer does not want to keep the item delivered to them.
Un-scanned labels that never make it into the delivery stream are eligible for refunds. However, if a customer receives your package and realizes he or she doesn't want it, then you cannot get a refund on the original postage and you will typically have to pay for a return postage label as well.
The only way to avoid paying for return postage is if the item shipped was delivered to the wrong address, and whoever received the package did not open it and writes "Return to Sender" on the package. This is only designed for people who received something they never intended to receive, and should not be part of your store's return policy.
Learn more about your return postage options.