Online Retail Return Policy Tips

With so much of retail business shifting to an online environment, return policies become increasingly more important. Unfortunately, many business owners overlook the role their return policies play in consumer decisions. If you're looking to improve your company's reputation and increase your sales, you should take some time to think about your return policy from the perspective of your customers. Here are a few things to consider as you revise your policy.

Make It Easy To Identify

Customers prefer doing business with companies that make their return policy easy to locate. Don't bury it under submenus on your website. Instead, make sure there's a link that's easy to see from your main page, and link it in the sidebars of all of your product pages, too. That way, customers can easily find and read it before they buy.

Use Plain Language

While it's common to use templates for many of the legal pages, including website terms and conditions, avoid doing this with your returns policy. Legal templates are often written in complex legal terms, making them hard for consumers to understand.

Instead, write your return policy in clear, plain language. Make it short, bullet-pointed, and easy to read. That way, your customers can scan the return policy easily and get the basic understanding of what their rights are. The clearer it is, the more confident they will be in shopping with you.

Allow Customers Sufficient Time

One of the biggest return policy issues for online retailers is a short window for returns. Customers may be hesitant to buy if you only allow 14 days for returns, because they may worry that they won't receive the product in time to be able to meet the return window if it's necessary. Instead, offer a return window between 30 and 60 days, and make it clear that the time starts from the day that the product is confirmed as delivered to the customer.

Make Returns Simple For The Customer

Another thing you should consider is the fact that customers want to keep things easy. When it comes to returns, there are a few ways that you can do this. It all comes down to deciding which options are the best fit for your business.

For example, you can simplify the returns process by eliminating a customer's need to call you for return information. Offer a portion of your website where customers can put in their information and get a returns claim started. You can even integrate support for prepaid shipping labels so that your customers can print them at home and use them to send the product back.

If you don't have the capacity to upgrade your website to this extent, consider including a returns form and a shipping label in every product shipment that goes out. If you do this, you can work with a shipping company that allows you to print the labels at no charge and only charges your account if the label is scanned as an active shipment, which would only happen if the customer actually returns the product.

Pay For The Return Shipping

Another major complaint from customers is a return policy that requires them to pay for the shipping to send the product back. If you're accepting the return, offer your customers the ability to send it back to you without having to pay for it. This can easily work in conjunction with simplifying the process, because you can use preprinted shipping labels, have returns billed to your shipper account, or work it out in a variety of other ways. No matter what, the goal is to make things as easy for the customer as possible, including on their wallet.