Building Customer Loyalty Through Easy Online Returns

A guest article by Returnly. Returnly provides an end-to-end returns management platform that enables easy returns for customers and merchants. It integrates with Shopify and powers a brandable, self-service portal that streamlines return operations and reduces customer support contact.

Online returns are incredibly important to achieving long-term customer loyalty in eCommerce. 81% of online shoppers are more likely to buy from an online retailer if they make it easy to return. That’s why we have pulled together a few best practice tips to consider for your store’s returns policy.

Build a Dedicated Returns Page

63% of U.S. consumers look at the returns policy before making a purchase. Make it easy for prospective shoppers to find yours by creating a dedicated returns page. Use this page to let prospective shoppers know what the return process is ahead of time.

Use Easy-to-Understand Language

Nearly half of U.S. consumers will shop more often if an online retailer offers a lenient, easy-to-understand policy. Describe how your returns process in clear, easy-to-understand language, so the shoppers know it won’t be a hassle if they have to make an online return.

Promote Your Returns Policy

The return policy ultimately influences 80% of the online sale. Leverage this as a competitive advantage and promote it to prospective shoppers. Link to the policy page on your website, in your emails, at checkout, and so on.

Keep Your Returns Policy Simple

35% of U.S. consumers report if they cannot find the return policy or it is unclear, they will never purchase or return to that site again. Keep your policy simple and straightforward. Don’t over-complicate the language or change policy based on product category or return reason. It may seem like a good idea to adjust policy if a shoppers choose ‘defective’ instead of ‘changed mind’ but in reality, it puts your shoppers in an ethical gray area. The last thing you want to do is leave a negative last impression. Furthermore, policies like this have hidden costs: they actually increase your customer service representative (CSR) interaction, increasing overhead and cutting into overall company margins.

Be Upfront About the Cost of Returns

Create a competitive advantage for your brand by offering the most liberal returns policy possible, free returns. 87% of shoppers believe that free returns are an important part of their eCommerce buying decision. If your retail business is new, and you don’t yet feel like you can absorb the shipping costs associated with all returns, that’s okay. Evaluate the return shipping costs across the board, and offer your customers a predictable, fixed rate return experience. Don’t bury the costs. By being upfront and transparent. This shows your shoppers that your processes are transparent and fair, and can help you cover some of the costs.

Set Expectations with Return Eligibility

Determine how many days after the purchase date a customer has to start a return. Be transparent and upfront setting clear expectations with your shoppers. If an item is outside the eligibility window, gray it out and include an explanation. This will help reduce frustration and support requests.

Embrace Product Returns

Whether you’re launching a new online eCommerce business or you’re reviewing an established policy, embrace product returns. By embracing returns you’re building your business around great customer experience, and great customer experience builds hyper-loyal shoppers and repeats business.

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