Get Ready for Holiday Returns and Exchanges.
Increased eCommerce sales during the holidays are the lifeline of many online businesses. Most online retailers get a large proportion of their sales during the holidays when consumer spending is at its peak.
Selling is quick and easy as customers are in a festive buying mood and they buy quick to make sure they don’t miss out on limited time discounts. Lots of impulse shopping happens. At the end of the holiday season, it’s then time for returns and exchanges. It’s a yearly phenomenon and as sales increase so do returns and exchanges.
eCommerce Returns and Exchanges Can be a Challenge.
Returns and Exchanges are a challenge for business, but customers can also face difficulties during the returns process. They bought a product from an online store and do not have a physical store to return or exchange the product.
Some products, like clothing or shoes do experience higher rates of returns and exchanges. A high rate of return can seriously affect the bottom line of any business.
Here are some tips on how you can handle returns and exchanges like a pro and keep your customers happy and coming back for more.
Make Sure the Returns Process is Simple.
In order to make the return process as simple as possible, you could allow your customers to go online and print a return label and drop off the package at their nearest USPS(or other shipper’s) location. A really good practice is to always send a return label in the package just in case it is needed. Return labels are one of the Top 3 Things to Put in a Shipping Box. This should almost be a requirement for online retailers that sell clothing, shoes, or other products where the fit of the product would matter most.
Also, an efficient returns process is a good practice for the holiday season. If you make it easy to return your product, and it gets back to you fast, there is a higher chance of you restocking the item and selling it to another customer. Quick turnaround of returns and exchanges is essential during the short holiday season.
If you sell products that can’t be returned after they have been opened, like vitamins and supplements, offer a store credit or a future discount on another item. That will help maintain goodwill.
Make Sure Your Return Policy is Clear and Prominently Displayed.
The best return policy must have these most important points clearly explained:
- How to return an item
- How many days are there to return an item
- How much will it cost your customer for the return
You should display your returns and exchange policy clearly and prominently on your website. Also display it on your product and checkout pages, just to be sure of covering all bases. Your returns and exchange policy must be as transparent as possible and must be clear, to the point and easily understood.
A great idea is to have a dedicated returns and exchanges page that should list out any charges for returns and exchanges. Clearly list out shipping rates if your customer has to pay for shipping the product back to you. Make it clear from the start!
Make Sure Your Customer Service Agents Understand your Policy Clearly.
Train customer service agents (as well as employees) to be flexible with the return policy during the holiday season. You must make them think quick turnaround and high customer satisfaction (and happiness). Make sure employees are trained to not alienate customers who return or exchange products. Don’t treat a customer like a criminal. Instead, get more information on why they returned or exchanged the product. Maybe your product descriptions weren’t accurate or oversold your product.
Learn from the Returns and Exchange Process.
At a later date, send out an email survey to find out more. Also try to find out what could have been done better on your product pages or during checkout. Make it a learning experience to improve your business. Definitely say you “messed up” if that was the case, and that you are trying to learn to serve your customers better. All this will help to identify how you can improve your selling and returns process. Business will improve for sure.
Returns and Exchanges cannot be eliminated from eCommerce. All you can do is handle it well and mitigate it’s effects by handling it exceptionally and keeping your customers happy. Learn from your mistakes and aim for the lowest rate of returns and exchanges.
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