Reading Time: 3 mins
There is a lot of competition these days when it comes to ecommerce. Since the barrier to entry is so low, there has been a boom in online stores opening up. This means you have to make sure to keep your customers happy and coming back for more if you want to beat the rest.
One of the trickiest aspects of running an ecommerce store is handling returns. We’ve all been there before. We want something we see online but aren’t sure that we love it. And if we don’t love it then it has to go back, right? So, if we can do it then so should your customers.
1 – Have an RMA system
This is a return merchandise authorisation system that allows people to initiate returns before they send the old item back. This is good for the customer as it helps reduce the time they are without the desired item.
If the wait is just a couple of days, or less if you are using a Next Flight Out Courier for your shipping, then the customer is less likely to have a negative experience. They understand that mistakes can happen both from your part and theirs, but the important thing to them is how quickly the problem can be rectified.
This is a classic win win. Your customer wins because they didn’t have to keep that thing that they thought they would love and realised…not so much. You win because you didn’t have to spend a ton of time going back and forth with a customer that would quickly devolve into a grudge match.
Not only that, but you have a more accurate way to monitor how the returns are affecting your profits.
2 – Return vs exchange
There are two different things the customer is looking to do when they initiate a return. In one scenario, they are unhappy with the product entirely and start the return process so they can get a refund. This is clearly best avoided from your perspective as it costs more money to deal with returns.
Another scenario is that the item would have been satisfactory except it may have arrived damaged or the wrong fit. In which case, they still want the item so they opt for an exchange. This involves them sending the damaged item back and getting a replacement.
Make sure that you have clear definitions of either so you know if an exchange is a viable option. There are times when an item is refunded when an exchange could have solved the problem.
3 – Write a clear return policy
First time buyers on your site will likely look for what your return policy is before they make a purchase.
They want to know if they are covered in case they get the wrong product or are unsatisfied with the purchase in any way. It pays for you to have a very clear return policy that includes many different scenarios.
Make sure it is understood at a glance which items can or cannot be returned, which can be exchanged and if there will be any cost to them to return the item. And how long it can last, too. For example, if you give somebody 30 days then that is usually a reasonable amount of time for somebody to decide if they love it or not.
The problem right now is that a lot of people are looking to just wear something once and return it. If they plan on doing that, then at least they are under some time pressure and may actually forget long enough to the point where they can’t return it.
4 – Keep track of offenders
Speaking of people that are buying just to try out an outfit or use a product once. You’ll need a system to weed those people out. You’re running a business and those are not your customers. Get a software that tracks the IP address of those that shop from you in addition to their address and credit card information.
If they have more than a few returns it’s time to blacklist them and refuse further orders. A return here and there is certainly forgivable – especially if it’s a good customer that often keeps what they buy. But there are enough of the other types out there that take advantage and you have to nip that in the bud quickly.
Looking for more handy business tips? Check out our small business section here.