Returns are inevitable for retail businesses, whether they be brick and mortar, online, or both. Your job as a business owner is to develop a return policy that will get you increased sales and repeat customers. Remember, word of mouth is one of your most powerful (and free!) marketing tools and an excellent return policy is a sure way to get you some positive reviews.
That said, you still want to avoid returns where possible. There are some simple things you can do to keep your customers happy from the get-go.
Another huge way to over-deliver is to ship items as quickly as possible. If the customer couldn’t scrounge up the extra money to pay for two-day shipping, but you get them their item in three days or less instead of the five to seven that they paid for, you have earned a loyal customer. Don’t break the bank by giving everyone two-day shipping if it’s not in your business plan, but getting products out faster than expected is almost always a win-win situation.
Regardless of how much care you take to send out a quality product, some people will still return merchandise. Perhaps they didn’t pay close enough attention to what they were ordering, or maybe the item just didn’t fit their needs. Regardless, how you handle the inevitable returns can also impact your public relations. It’s in your best interest to go about things the right way.
Train your staff to only accept returns that have all original packaging and items in pristine condition. It’s in your best interest to be courteous at all times and to bend over backward for your customers but you will not make everyone happy all of the time. Once you have your policies in place, stick to your guns but make sure that they are fair and customer-oriented.
If you switch your mindset from returns being a nuisance to being a possible source of additional revenue, it’s easier to see each return as an opportunity. When your customers have positive experiences when they return merchandise, they are more likely to come back as a repeat customer and give positive reviews.