Returns are a normal part of ecommerce fulfilment, and if you don't have a good return policy in place, it can negatively impact your business in several ways.
First of all, it will make it harder for customers to return items that they're not happy with, which could lead to them leaving negative reviews or taking their business elsewhere. Secondly, it will increase the amount of work that your fulfilment team has to do, as they'll need to process returns manually. And finally, it could end up costing you more money in the long run if you're not careful.
A good return policy should be clear and concise, and it should outline what the customer can expect in terms of refunds, exchanges, and shipping costs. It should also be easy for the customer to understand and follow. If you can tick all of these boxes, then you'll be well on your way to providing a great ecommerce customer experience.
5 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR RETURNS POLICY
1. LOOK AT YOUR RETURNS WINDOW
To begin with, you must ensure that your return policy follows any consumer rights regulations in the nation where you do business.
Then consider if your customers will find this lengthy enough. They may appreciate a little extra time to get acquainted with their new item if it's a large or pricey purchase. Again, this can be a big draw in acquiring new customers, especially if you know very few customers actually do send the product back.
Some businesses are going even further with their return periods. IKEA, for example, is well-known for providing a full year to customers to return items.
A lot of brands offer a ‘trial’ period with a guaranteed refund if they aren’t happy. Beauty brands can take note of how Feel Unique offers a ‘Try Me’ service, sending out a sample along with a full sized product. Customers can sample it before opening the bottle, allowing them to return it if they don't like it.
2. CONSIDER THE LANGUAGE YOU USE IN YOUR RETURNS POLICY
Even if returns are a problem for your company, your customers should not feel that way.
Consider how you would feel if you were browsing the internet and came across a site with a poor returns policy. How does it make you feel? Are you being forced to read through a list of regulations? Or do you believe that the company comprehends the importance of returns to the customer?
Turn-offs such as "you must," "we are not responsible," and other expressions that imply you are being pushed around will annoy your potential customers. Instead, utilize words like "we hope you enjoy your product" and "we understand."
When writing a returns policy, it's vital to pick the proper language. You want to let your client know that you care about their satisfaction. However, you must also demonstrate that you are aware of the possibility that it may not meet their needs - or that they may change their minds.
Make it simple and genuine as well. Don't make things overly difficult; use jargon, and worse, copy and paste from Google. Speak in your brand's tone of voice and provide an opportunity for you to connect with your consumers. Providing some great testimonials from previous customers is a fantastic approach to demonstrate that others have had a positive experience with your company.
3. BE PROUD OF YOUR RETURNS POLICY
You don't just want to keep current consumers satisfied with your return policy; it's also a chance for you to impress potential new ones.
According to UPS, 68% of shoppers check the return policy on a website before making a purchase.
So, if you have a policy that sets you apart from your competitors, make sure it's advertised. It should generally have its own landing page. However, to get the most out of it, highlight your return USPs on banners throughout your website.
Even better, include a link to it in your order confirmation emails. It may seem strange to consider returning something before it has even been sent. However, it demonstrates that you are honest and placing the needs of your customers ahead of your own.
4. MAKE IT FRICTIONLESS!
Today, more and more merchants are recognising the value of returns for their customers' shopping experience. As a result, pre-written labels and free return shipping have become common practice. Including a pre-printed return label with every shipment not only makes the process easier for your customers, but also for you.
By investing in 3PL ecommerce fulfilment, you can outsource your entire returns process to specialists. 3PL providers have the necessary expertise and infrastructure to handle all aspects of returns quickly and efficiently. This takes the pressure off you and your team, and allows you to focus on other areas of your business. It also helps to ensure that your customers have a positive experience from start to finish.
5. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE!
The key to any good customer experience is communication. This is especially true when it comes to returns.
Make sure you keep your customers updated at every stage of the process. Send them an email when you receive their return, and let them know when their refund has been processed. A little communication goes a long way in making sure your customers are happy. Not to mention strengthening that one-on-one relationship and building trust.
6. USE RETURNS TO IMPROVE YOUR PRODUCT
Returns are an inevitable part of any retail business. It's extremely unusual not to receive any requests for refunds or exchanges. This does not, however, imply that you shouldn't investigate why your consumers are sending products back. If there is an excessive amount of returns, it could be a sign that something else in the customer experience is wrong.
Use customer feedback from returns to improve your products and reduce the number of future returns. After all, it's not just about getting the product back, it's about making sure it's the right product in the first place. Take a close look at why customers are returning items, and use that information to make changes to your products or your business model. It could be something as simple as better quality control, or changing the way you package your products.
Whatever it is, use returns as an opportunity to improve your business and make your customers even happier.
To summarise, eCommerce fulfilment can be a complex process, and things can sometimes go wrong. That's why it's important for ecommerce businesses to have a good return policy in place.
A return policy gives customers the peace of mind that they can always get their money back if they're not happy with their purchase. It also shows that you're confident in your product and are willing to stand behind it.
Good ecommerce customer experience is all about making the customer feel confident and secure in their purchase, and a return policy is one way to do that. So if you're running an ecommerce business, make sure you have a solid return policy in place. It could make all the difference to your customers.