It may seem counterintuitive, but making it easy to return things is an excellent way to both attract and keep your customers. It gives them the impression that you’re a confident, service-centric business that cares about your customers and their needs. Like most projects, developing a competent and efficient e-commerce returns process takes time and investment, but it also pays off enormously once in place. Here’s 3 groupings of e-commerce returns tactics that’ll make your online store very popular with its customers.
E-Commerce Returns Policies
What makes returns so frustrating for customers is that every business seems to approach them differently. Customers want their time spent on your site to be quick, easy and without hassle. Here’s how to avoid headaches (and questions) with your return policy:
Make it generous. Offer customers as much leeway as you can. 30-day returns are often too short a window, while 90-day returns are much better (some businesses even find great success with 365-day returns). Free return shipping or a waiving of restocking fees will also make you look stellar in the customer’s eyes.
Make it clear. Don’t use confusing language or run-on sentences. Outline your policy in bullet points, stating dates or time periods, any costs, and any restrictions. Emphasize the good parts of your e-commerce returns policy, without covering up any of its less popular aspects.
Make it easy to spot. Too many online stores hide their return policy in sub-pages or FAQs. This makes customers hunt for answers and frustrates them greatly. Advertise your return policy on your front page and any other page that you can. A simple but attractive banner will spell out the basics and make customers far more likely to shop with you.
E-Commerce Returns Practices
Offer your customers the convenience of a return label. It will make the whole returns experience feel like less of a hassle for them, and they’ll feel far more confident about purchasing from you again in the future. Here’s 3 ways to offer the return label:
Make it available by request. All they’ve got to do is ask, and you email a printable label to them. However, while it’s easy and promotes communication, it’s not the fastest option—nor do customers find the need to reach out to be convenient.
Make it available in their online profile. All they’ve got to do is log into their account, find their order and print out the label. This removes the need for communication (and any waiting times), which makes customers more comfortable with the e-commerce returns process.
Make it a part of their shipment. All they’ve got to do is pull out any paperwork or inserts that came with their order, and they’ll find a return label ready and waiting for them. This is the fastest, most convenient option, and shows them that you’re a business that’s confident and comfortable with returns.
E-Commerce Returns Packaging
Your products deserve to travel in quality packaging supplies. That statement is true whether those products are being delivered to a customer, or making a return trip back to your warehouse. Here’s how you can reduce the risk of damage and avoid customer frustration, no matter what direction your products are travelling in:
Make your packaging easy to open. Use new corrugated boxes or mailer envelopes for shipping your customer orders. Many shipping products now offer packaging features like easy-open tear strips. This will help prevent customers from simply destroying packaging to open it.
Make your packaging easy to re-seal. Use corrugated mailer boxes or mailer envelopes with a second peel-and-seal adhesive strip. This will encourage customers to re-pack products correctly, making the return trip safer and less of a hassle for your business.
Make it easy to return. Use shipping cartons that closely match your products in size. No one wants to open, re-seal or carry around a gigantic box. Any frustrations your customer has with your e-commerce returns process will make them less likely to buy from you in the future.
Using these e-commerce returns tactics will benefit your online store in ways you might not even be considering. Sure, your customers will be satisfied and likely to buy from you again, but your products will return to you in better condition. And, your customer service team will need to spend less time holding a customer’s hand through the e-commerce returns process, freeing up time to continue growing your business. Returns may not be your ideal immediate outcome, but handling them right can lead to greater sales in the future.