Whether you sell online, or in shop, having a rock solid return policy will instill confidence in your customers, and streamline your process. A clear return policy will save you time and money and minimize the overall number of returns, keeping your customers coming back for more. Here are the 6 steps to creating an unbeatable return policy:
#1 – Do your homework
Returns are a notorious trap for hidden extra costs, price out every step of the way to ensure you’re accounting for everything from shipping, to labels, to time spent. You’ll need to trust that your return policy is added into your costing, so that you don’t end up eating those expenses later.
When creating the return policy for Nativen, we looked through a wide array of retailers across the industry and read customer reviews to ward off unexpected costs and unhappy customers.
Pro Tip: Roll some of the costs of shipping and returns into your retail pricing to standardize your return price and keep costs to your customer low.
#2 – Keep it Simple
Take cues from your competitors. Look around and see how they structure their policy. Be clear on what the timeline is for your returns: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days? Make the packaging and shipping process easy, and be clear about what’s needed. Don’t get caught up in crazy jargon, use language that your customers can understand. You want to make sure your policy is competitive and easy to understand.
Your brand voice doesn’t stop at your company motto, product copy or blog. When writing the policies for Nativen, we made sure to inject a bit of our friendly and familiar brand voice into our standards. Remember: people do business with people.
What to look out for: Do your competitors offer free or standardized single-price shipping? Is the packaging you sent the product in easily reusable for returns? How long does your customer have to return, does that include shipping time? Will they be offered exchange, credit, or cash?
#3 – A good return policy can sell your product for you
In a world of endless rapidly available options, the difference between a buyer and a browser is the feeling that there’s less risk in the customer’s choice to buy, and the assurance that you’ll stand behind your product. You’re not in business just to make dissatisfied customers happy, your easy to understand, and product guaranteed, return policy is a powerful selling tool to draw in new customers, and keep old customers coming back for more.
#4 – Stop returns before they happen
One of the best ways to prevent a return is to be clear and honest about your product. Detailed descriptions, measurements and the condition or capabilities of your product make it easier for your customer to know what to expect. Don’t get caught up in flamboyant descriptions that are misleading, make sure that when you state something about your product, that you’re prepared to stand by it.
#5 – Turn returns into lifelong customers
A customer who is returning your product is an opportunity, not your enemy. Find out what about your product is and isn’t working for them, and offer alternate options. Trust is built when a customer can see that your desire to solve their problem and provide a solution is more important than a single sale.
As the owner at Nativen, I often take the time to personally jump on a call, or send a direct email to try and resolve an unhappy purchase. Customers are always pleasantly surprised when you make the effort to be personable and work with them to happy solution. As a small business, this is a very important step to growing and retaining your customer base.
#6 – You can’t please everyone
Every now and again you might get a customer that’s determined to challenge any solution or trouble shooting you send their way. Remain calm, and try to work with them to solve the issue, but don’t be bullied. The goal is always to resolve and please, but not at the cost of your business, so be wary of angry customers, and keep your cool!