Providing a great experience for buyers online is essential to succeeding in ecommerce. Buyers have a multitude of options on the internet, so why should they keep coming back to your shop?
A great customer experience is key to retaining your customers, and the returns process is one of the areas that many ecommerce businesses struggle with. Returns are inevitable when you trade online, so look at returns not as a lost sale but as an opportunity to really impress a customer with great service. It’s a way to make your business stand out, and get ahead of your competitors.
Legally, online customers have the right to cancel their order within 14 days even if the goods aren’t faulty - so you might as well take this requirement as a chance to impress customers, and hopefully keep them coming back.
A great returns policy can inspire confidence and trust in buyers before the sale, and in the future, and setting up a process for returns will reduce the time and money you spend on them and keep your customers coming back. Follow these 5 tips and make sure your returns process wows your customers:
1. A simple policy
The most obvious part of a good returns policy is making sure it’s easy to find and simple to understand. Have your returns policy somewhere that can easily be found, especially if someone is on a specific product page - have it at the bottom of every page, or as part of the product description. This stops the customer from moving away from buying the product to discover your returns policy. You should also include a copy of your returns policy in with the products that you send out.
Once they’ve found your online store’s returns policy, it needs to be straightforward and easily understood. Clearly state how long customers have to return items, and what the process is for returning, and how much it will cost them.
2. Offer more than the minimum
Because you are selling online you have to offer a refund within 14 days of the customer receiving their goods, but the majority of online shops will offer a 28 day return policy.
Be as generous and flexible as you can with your policy. The most memorable customer experiences are when the retailer has exceeded expectations, and done more than they were obliged to - it all goes towards building a good reputation for your online shop, and creating trust between you and your customers.
3. Free returns
If you can afford to offer free returns then it will encourage people to try out your products without the hassle of paying to return unsuitable items (especially if it’s clothing or footwear)
60% of UK consumers will not even consider making a fashion purchase online unless they can return unwanted items without being charged.
If it’s simple and free to return an item customers are more likely to take a chance on your products. If customers do have to pay to return items to you, then don’t hide these costs.
4. Use a returns service
There are a number of different services that offer convenient and hassle free returns, for example CollectPlus lets customers drop their parcels off at nearly 6,000 newsagents, convenience stores, petrol stations and supermarkets. Giving customers the option to avoid queueing up at a Post Office can give them more confidence buying from your online shop. Find out more about using CollectPlus.
5. Holiday season returns
Don’t put people off buying presents from your online shop during the run up to Christmas - extend your returns policy to go beyond Christmas and this will encourage people to buy presents from your shop.
It’s important to be aware that attracting a new customer costs a lot more than keeping an existing one - so keeping your customer happy even when they are returning items is crucial. Returns can be the final impression that you leave buyers with: take advantage of the opportunity to offer great customer service and it will make you stand out, and hopefully they will come back to your online shop in the future.