Love Your Customers? Three Ways To Say It With Your Return Policy

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for some retailers, the holiday that is synonymous with love and romance is also one of the biggest sales days of the year.

Unfortunately, as we all know, with more sales comes the possibility of more returns. In a perfect world, no one would ever want to return anything that they purchased, or anything that was given to them, especially not something that they were given as a Valentine’s Day present.

In the real world, when someone does want to return an item, for whatever reason, here are three ways that you as an ecommerce store owner can help to make sure that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

Be Upfront And Easy To Understand

No one wants to have to wade through complicated legal jargon to find out what they really want to know: how can they quickly return or exchange items that they purchase from you.  While complex legal jargon is essential, and should be included on your site, you should always make sure that they most frequently asked questions (and answers) associated with your shipping and return policies are clearly displayed, easy to find, and easy for all of your customers to understand.

Avoid Bad Surprises

There are two kinds of surprises: the happy kind that we get when someone we love surprises us with the perfect present on Valentine’s Day, and the unhappy kind that we get when we get bad news.  Here’s an example:

Good Surprise:

Receiving a free gift item along with your order. ModCloth is one store that routinely sends small free gifts to customers along with their orders, and some other online retailers do this as well.

Bad Surprise:

Realizing at the last minute that you are liable for return shipping costs for the item that you want to send back because the store you ordered it from wasn’t upfront about this policy on their site or with you after you placed your order and you only found out when it was time to return your item because you read the small fine print on your order packing slip.

I had this happen to me recently. I was not a happy customer.

Practice Return Prevention

While you may not always be able to prevent all returns and exchanges, you can do your part to help eliminate them by:

  • Providing clear photos of your products from multiple angles
  • Including proper sizing information and sizing charts if selling apparel
  • Clearly stating whether or not special-order or custom-order items are returnable with or without a restocking fee
  • Following the previous two tips

Want to learn more? Here’s a great article from Practical Ecommerce about developing a return policy for your ecommerce store and using that return policy to convert shoppers into customers.

Happy (early) Valentine’s Day from everyone at Miva Merchant!