5 Reasons Why Your Return Policy Sucks!

 In Ecommerce, Product Returns

We’ve tried to be nice about. But now it’s time to put on our mean faces and grimace caps and get nasty. Simply put: if you make returns a hassle, you lose customers and long term business and retention. Basically, a crappy ecommerce return policy screams to prospective customers: “Take your business somewhere else!”

With the most recent ecommerce statistics showing that over one-fourth of online shoppers are millennials, there really isn’t any more wiggle room for online retailers. Millennials won’t be pushed around. They want an easy and convenient online shopping experience or they will spend their hard earned money elsewhere. Need more convincing? Read our guide: Turn Down The ‘Suck Dial’ To Lure Millennials.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, if your return policy is lenient and permitting, you stand to make a lot more money. The report underscores the notion that retailers need to optimize their rate of returns – which means that the consideration of certain high return products, and their inclusion in your inventory or exclusion, can help you reach the path to optimization for your reverse logistics funnel.

In plain English, this means that if you have certain products that get returned a lot, perhaps consider discontinuing them from your inventory. But, across the board, you will find that it’s rather easy to optimize your return funnel and still offer the same convenient returns as the top retailers like Zappos do to encourage stronger sales.

Now that we have your attention, let’s grind out on this topic and determine the top reasons why your return policy sucks and what you can do to fix it. We’ll help you turn things around by making some simple changes that ultimately serve to better your business model and help you turn even bigger profits from more consistent conversions.

1: Wall of Text

Ah, the infamous wall of text in a return policy. You see it as so many places these days and it’s just downright baffling. For starters, standard shopping cart abandonment rates are about 97%. You basically have minutes to wow customers or they will just jump to the next online store. But here you are with your wall of text, expecting that customers will take the time to read it. Sure, 65% of people read a return policy. If you present them with a wall of text, they’ll know from the start how annoying it is to return a purchase. When all is said and done, you are losing a slew of potential conversions because your returns policy sucks!

2: Limited Return Dates

The golden rule with a return policy limit is 30-days from the time of purchase. That’s the industry standard. 14 days just doesn’t cut it. It’s not what shoppers want and it’s not what you should be offering them. If your return policy offers anything less than 30-days to return a product, it sucks. Offering limited return dates merely tells customers that you are hoping they will overlook the 14-day period. When they do, and when they realize that they can’t return that item just two weeks later, guess what store they won’t buy from in the future? Yours. A return policy is a powerful conversion tool. To make the most of it, read our guide: Convince, Convert with an Online Returns Policy Before It’s Too Late.

3: Fees

If you are charging return shipping and or restocking fees, most customers simply won’t buy from you to begin with. Over 80% of consumers desire a simple return policy with over 90% wanting no return shipping fees and no restocking fees. Basically, if you are going to charge return shipping fees, your return policy sucks. What’s more, customers can just click their way to the next store they find that offers the same products but a better return policy, which means you just lost their business. The good news? 92% of consumers are loyalists to retailers that do not charge return shipping fees and offer an easy way to process the return.

4: No Automation

Lack of automation with your return policy is killing your online sales. Did you know that over 65% of consumers read your return policy before they even make a buying decision? If they find that returns are cumbersome and inconvenient, their confidence level drops in your brand. In addition, with big giants like Amazon on the landscape that offer automation, the customer is then more inclined to shop somewhere that makes returns easy. In a nutshell, without automation, your return policy sucks!

5: Bad After Buying Experience

Here’s the thing: you’ve been so focused on making the shopping experience amazing, fast and easy that you likely entirely overlooked what happens in the aftermath. How does your after buying experience stack up to other online retailers? It’s actually more important than the buying experience is. If a customer avidly purchases a product from your online store, but then experiences a hassle trying to return the product, your after buying experience sucks and so does your return policy! Do you think said shopper will ever bring any future business your way? Nope.

How to Fix It

A solid return policy will actually improve profits, customer loyalty and retention exponentially. But sometimes a visual aid is what we need in order to really get the big picture. In this regard, the infographic we’ve created (below) can drive home this key point. In case you are wondering what you can do to revamp your ecommerce return policy and win over more customers, take a look at our detailed guide: Online Product Returns Policy – What Every E-Retailer Needs to Know.