If you sell items offline or online, you will likely find yourself in situations where customers need to return purchased products. This can happen for different reasons, including defective or damaged items, wrong item purchases, customers deciding they no longer want the product, or failing to meet customers’ expectations.
Regardless of the situation that leads to the return of a product, one thing is certain — no business owner wishes for this to happen. As you can see, it isn’t always your fault. However, a lot goes on within a few hours of the customer receiving the goods, which can lead to returns. This is why a sales process doesn’t end after you make a sale and receive payment.
You also need to take a few steps into the future by preparing for possible product returns. Having a clear return policy is undoubtedly one of the best ways to handle this possibility. Read on to discover the return policy basics and how much of a difference updating the return policy makes in your business. Let’s get into the details.
Return Policy Basics
A return policy is a laid down company rule that specifies the products customers can return and exchange, the timeframe allowed, and additional conditions involved in the return and exchange. In cases of returns, your customers get their money back. With exchanges, the customer receives a similar product or a store credit with the same value as the item returned.
You can allow returns or exchanges, or both. Note that the return policy option you select is legally binding. Note that there is no one way to approach your return policy.
However, here are a few return policy basics you shouldn’t miss out:
- The products that can or cannot be exchanged or returned: You can decide not to accept exchange or return on certain items.
- The timeframe allowed for exchanges or returns: This can be from 14 to 30 days or one year. You can determine how long this takes. If a company does not clearly state the timeframe, the law will dictate a 30-day return period in some countries.
- The acceptable condition for returned products: You can choose to accept only products with tags. This implies that you won’t accept products without tags.
- The sales receipt requirement: Here, customers have to show their sales receipt when returning an item.
- The return shipping cost: You might decide to foot the returns shipping cost. If you don’t, it means your customers would have to cover it.
As you can see, a return policy provides your customers with the requirements to activate the return process. Additionally, it helps you to stay on top of the situation.
Why You Should Revamp Your Return Policy
Your customers desire (and deserve) the best customer experience possible. If your products or services satisfy them, they will make more orders and spread the word about your business to family and friends. But this won’t happen if they find it difficult or impossible to return or exchange goods. Now, this is where your return policy comes into the picture.
Below are a few benefits of a good or revamped return policy.
A Return Policy Can Make or Break a Sale
Your return policy can either attract or repel your target audience. This might be why you missed out on some sales by a whisker. That is a lot of money left on the table. And we know that hurts. But the truth is, you can’t go back in time. However, you can make things right by revamping your return policy.
Here’s the thing, if your return policy appeals to buyers’ emotions, you will attract new customers and easily retain the existing customers. You can decide to offer free trials or free returns (if it’s possible). They work a treat.
Returns Can Be Used as a Marketing Tool
A good return policy can help your business stand out in a competitive market. Hence, you need to take advantage of it. For instance, you can extend your return period during the holiday season. This will help you attract more customers who buy from you and, ultimately, become consistent customers. Nonetheless, tread carefully when going down this road.
A Good Return Policy Builds Trust
Without a doubt, returns don’t scream good news. But then, with a reasonable return policy, you can turn the tables in your favor and establish trust with your customers. As they say, “when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade.” This can be your lemon-to-lemonade moment. On the other hand, if you get your return policy wrong, you will struggle to retain your customers.
The Industry is Changing
Different industries experience changes every now and then, and your adaptation to these changes goes a long way in determining how well you perform in the market. Therefore, there will be upgrades you need to remain competitive. For instance, changes in your industry may require that you revamp your return policy, or else your business will be left in the dust.
Attract Repeat Buyers
First-time customers will only make another order if they enjoyed the customer experience you provided, including your return policy when they had to return a product. If your return policy catches their eye, you can be sure that you just acquired a repeat buyer.
The Bottom Line
Updating your return policy is undoubtedly a simple but effective way to ensure that your business remains a customer magnet. So, if you would love to attract and keep your customers, you shouldn’t sleep on it.
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