4 Tips for Your Online Returns Policy

The average shopper browsing between different stores online is influenced by a wide variety of different contributing factors. One obvious aspect are the products that are being offered, their available selection and the prices. But these given metrics aside, shoppers are also closely examining the cost of shipping, the provided customer service, the ease of the shopping experience… and the online retail returns policy that’s being offered.

If your store is able to meet all of these stringent requirements, you may be able to convince the shopper to go ahead and make the purchase. Then there’s the checkout process, where shoppers say, according to studies on shopping cart abandonment rates, they want the shipping and return policy stated upfront and clearly, they want discount shipping options, and they to know that it will be convenient should they have to make a return.

Four Influencing Factors

So just how does your ecommerce returns management process affect the shopper’s mindset when they are considering whether or not to give their business to your online store? Four key factors come into play, all which are contributors to either another sale or outright cart abandonment.

  1. Communication – Stores need to assure that customers are well apprised of how their return policy works. In order to create an effective online product returns policy, take into account these following elements. The policy should outline the ins and outs of returns in simple language that provides customers with an understanding of what can be returned, for how long, any stipulations or rules that apply, any return shipping costs and restocking fees and how the returns process works at your online store.
  2. Convenience – One of the key reasons why online shopping has become so popular is that it’s rather convenient. People love being able to order products online and enjoy the home delivery of them a few days later. It’s when it comes to returns that this may get cluttered a little bit. With major carriers now powering automated product returns solutions that let customers make returns from any website in minutes, convenience of the ecommerce returns management process can be assured.
  3. Pricing – Customers don’t want to pay return shipping fees. They are already annoyed enough that they have to make a return in the first place, so say studies about online product returns. With nearly 80% of customers not wanting to pay return shipping or restocking fees, devising a way to minimize this cost, or eliminate it, is the most ideal approach when tailoring your returns policy to help improve conversions and boost retention.
  4. Flexibility – Shoppers need to feel confident before they click that “checkout” button. But if your returns policy is not conducive to being lenient on the time tables that customers can return items, you won’t get very far. By featuring a generous time window that allows customers to place returns, you are thereby also improving their confidence before they make the sale. A good rule of thumb is that a 30-day returns policy is the industry standard; 60 days is considered above the mold; and 90 days is the most desirable.


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