With over 40% of holiday purchases made online during 2015, it is no secret that the internet has become the new shopping mall. However, while customers are making more purchases online, they are also increasing their rate of returns and exchanges. Therefore, a concise, clear and solid return and exchange policy is becoming integral for not only brick and mortar business but also e-commerce retailers.
Businesses have to figure out how their return and exchange policy will help manage their customer relationship, while also making shipping sense, which doesn’t lead to huge losses. Here are three tips for creating an effective return and exchange policy.
Your return and exchange policy should be easily accessible and provide clarity to the customer about expectations, even before the customer has bought your product. It should be clear on details such as regular shipping rates, holiday return rates (if necessary), defective product returns, and requirements for full refund, deadlines and return shipping charges. Also, think about the long-term cost of losing versus keeping a customer.
There are many things you could be doing other than repeatedly fielding questions on how your customer can complete a return. To save your time and your customer’s time, place instructions and labels in your shipping boxes, as well as on your website. Instructions should be clear and easy to follow, and return labels, provide the convenience of easily dropping off the product at the post office™. If you charge for return shipping, ensure that this is also noted in the instructions on the box.
Keep in mind that it may be worth allowing your customers to keep a product, while you ship a replacement, especially if there is a manufacturer defect. Ensure that you know the cost of returns and exchanges and its impact on the bottom line. Have clear instructions on the type of packaging that is needed for a return. DIM weight affects shipments, and if you as the shipper are paying the cost of returns, the cost of bad packaging for a return can have serious financial consequences later.
Download our holiday shipping white paper for tips on achieving a healthy profit margin, while keeping customers happy during and at the close of the holiday season.