A recent report from Walker Sands on the Future of Retail indicated that 64% of consumers are more likely to purchase online when the company offered free returns and exchanges.
Now, if you are a small business, free returns and exchanges can be a tough offering as it does eat into your bottom line, especially when the Wall Street Journal reported in December 2013 that one-third of all Internet transactions are returned by shoppers.
So how can your small business avoid costly returns and exchanges?
1. Make Sure Customers Completely Understand What They Are Buying
- Highlight key product details in bullet point form.
- Include and encourage the use of size charts.
- Have photos that show close up details.
- Have photos that show perspective of size.
- Read customer reviews to understand what they are misunderstanding.
- Indicate what is not included if other items are shown in the photo i.e. lamp shade not included.
- Try to answer the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
2. Make Your Return and Exchange Policy Clear
- Give a limited time in which a customer can return or exchange, such as 30 days after date of purchase.
- Deduct original shipping charges from the refund unless the return is the result of your error.
- Offer free return shipping only if the customer is returning the item for store credit as opposed to a full refund.
- Indicate whether items can only be returned if they are unopened or in their original condition.
- Indicate whether gifts can be returned for refund or store credit only.
- Indicate how long it will take to receive a refund i.e. refunds will be processed 2 to 3 business days after item is received back.
3. Indicate Items That Cannot Be Returned or Exchanged
- Items that have had possible unhygienic body contact i.e. earrings, underwear, cosmetics, etc.
- Items of a digital nature i.e. ebooks, printables, etc.
- Items that have been personalized or customized.
- Items that have been washed or worn.
- Final sale items.
With the holiday shopping season coming up, you may also want to indicate when you will be accepting and/or processing returns of holiday purchases. Most stores are so busy they won’t even entertain the idea of processing a return or exchange until after December 26th.
Need More Advice for Your Small Business?
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