No matter how hard you try, you'll have to confront returns and refunds at some point in your online selling journey.
It's not always about poor product quality, as people also request returns when they receive a wrong product or receive something that is not of their size or desired measurements.
Ecommerce returns policy might not be an exciting element of your ecommerce journey. However, it significantly impacts how your customers perceive your brand.
Also, it is something you need to create to stay compliant with local and international laws.
Even if you're selling on popular ecommerce giants, such as eBay or Etsy, you may still have to invest in an online shopping return policy to provide a sense of security to your buyers.
The biggest mistake online sellers make is they copy/paste the ecommerce returns policy from their competitor's website to save time and money.
But since each business is different, it makes no sense to showcase something on your site that doesn't reflect your return policy process and terms and conditions.
If providing an impeccable user experience is your goal, having a unique online shopping return policy is unavoidable for your ecommerce business.
Now the question is, how can you create a returns policy that will make your buyers fall in love with your brand? Continue reading if you want to find the answer to this and other similar questions.
What Is An Ecommerce Returns Policy?
An ecommerce returns policy is a document that includes everything your customers want to know about your return policy process. It explains to your buyers what they can or cannot return and in what time frame.
An online shopping return policy not only protects customers but also shields your business against certain kinds of scams and fraud, including credit card chargebacks, inappropriate returns, etc.
Essentials Of A Returns Policy
Regardless of the type and nature of your business, every ecommerce returns policy needs a few essentials to help customers know what you'll accept from them and how you'll refund their money.
The most critical element of an ecommerce returns policy is the time frame.
You must clearly state how long your buyers may have to wait to get a refund when they return a product. Usually, businesses opt for a 15 or 30 days standard return policy.
Conditions Of Returns
The condition of the product must be defined before a return request can be processed.
Look, if a buyer is not happy with the quality of the product or received the wrong item, they should request a refund without using it.
But if the product has already been used by the customer or is broken or devalued, your return policy should include clauses to protect you.
Apart from that, your return policy should also highlight specific requirements (if any). For instance, you can ask your buyers to return products in their original packaging with the price tag and shipping label on.
Choose Refund/In-Store Credit
Every customer is different. While some of them might settle for in-store credit, others will ask for a 100% refund. We'd suggest you target both these approaches.
For example, you can offer a full refund for specific types of returns and choose to go with in-store credit for other situations.
The key here is to be very clear about your offers and specify the exact circumstances in your returns policy.
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Is ‘No Returns And Refunds Policy’ Legit?
Well, it depends on the local laws of the state where you live.
In most cases, it's legal to have a 'no return policy.'
But it's an awful idea. Why? Because the purpose of creating a return and refund policy is to build trust. Take your own example. Would you like to shop from a site that does not offer you any protection?
If you answered 'yes, you're not alone.
But if you still want to go with a 'no return policy, make sure you carefully examine laws as they vary worldwide.
Reasons To Have An Online Shopping Return Policy
Besides customer protection, there are several other reasons why having a return and refund policy is beneficial for your ecommerce business.
Buyers want to shop from sites that have a clearly defined online shopping return policy in place.
What an ecommerce returns policy does for your business is it creates a sense of security and ensures customers their hard-earned money is in safe hands.
If a visitor fails to spot a returns and refund policy on your site, they're more likely to abandon it and look for options that offer them protection alongside the right value for their money.
Even if a customer has already purchased a product from your store and fails to find the policy afterward, they may start distrusting your brand and avoid you for their future purchases.
This benefit is connected with the first one. A brand that successfully builds trust and credibility is likely to receive more orders than stores that don't.
More trust leads to more traffic, allowing businesses a chance to convince and convert more customers.
While some states allow you to run a store without a return and ecommerce refund policy, most of them require you to provide customer protection in one way or the other.
That is why it is a good idea to have a well-crafted returns and refunds policy in place before you even think about starting a business online.
Prevents Fraudulent Returns
In case you don't have a returns and refunds policy yet you allow returns, you may have to face scams in the shape of fraudulent returns.
With a returns and refunds policy, you can warn your buyers that you're tracking returns and look out for inappropriate behaviors.
Saves You And Your Buyers Time
Having a returns and refund policy can save you and your customers a lot of time and effort. How? Let us explain.
When you don't have a policy in place, your customers will have to contact you for every query they have in mind regarding returns and refunds.
It can frustrate both your support team and customers.
To avoid this, you should showcase your returns and refunds policy with every possible detail so that your buyers will not have to contact you for every question they have in mind.
Having a returns and refund policy on your website reflects the professional image of your business. It also adds to the user experience your customers are having on your site.
That goes without saying that a happy customer contributes more to your AOV and also acts as your brand advocate who promotes your brand free of cost wherever they go.
8 Effective Tips To Create A Return Policy Your Customers Will Love
1. Make Your Returns And Refunds Policy Accessible
Present-day customers are clever!
According to research, more than 66% of online customers review a brand's returns and refunds policy before they purchase anything from a site. And 81% of those 66% customers only click a 'Buy Now' button if the brand offers a free returns policy.
So trying to hide your returns and refund policy can only cause more harm than good for your business.
Instead of crowding your policy with technical terms and conditions, it is better to include that in your sales process. For instance, you can embed the link of your returns and refunds policy under the 'Add to the cart button.'
Apart from that, you can also display your policy on your home page, product pages, and during checkout for maximum visibility.
2. Keep Your Tone Conversational And Friendly
An online shopping return policy that your customers can understand and conveys a clear message delivers the best results.
Don't go overboard with language and tone.
Ideally, you should maintain a conversational and friendly tone that your buyers can relate to. You don't really have to act like a lawyer while creating your ecommerce returns and refunds policy. Avoid using authoritative language that instructs customers what they should or shouldn't do.
Sure, your goal is to get your message across, but it is also essential to make your return policy process as smooth and pain-free as possible.
3. Provide FREE Returns And Refunds
Brands that offer free returns and refunds earn customers for life. Why? Because it reduces pre-purchase customer anxiety and helps buyers feel more confident about spending their money on your products.
Sure, you have to bear additional free returns cost as well. But you can consider it as a cost of acquiring a new customer.
The thing is, customers already have so many concerns regarding returns and refunds. For most of them, it is a tedious process.
By including a free returns and refunds clause in your policy, you can assure those confused customers that they won't have to bear the cost of returns.
4. Your Returns And Refunds Policy Should Be Clear And To-the-Point
As discussed above, your ecommerce returns policy should be customer-friendly and somewhat lenient.
In all honesty, the concept of returns and refunds itself is too complicated. Do not make it more complex by using industry-specific jargon, technical clauses, and strict terms and conditions.
But obviously, you should discuss each aspect of returns and refunds clearly in your policy. For instance, the post-purchase time frame you want to allow your buyers to return products, packaging guidelines, payment and refund terms, and exchange options - everything needs to be discussed beforehand.
5. Set Clear Guidelines
Be very specific about how you want your customers to return products. Do you want them to send those goods in the original packaging?
Do you require them to return products with a price tag and shipping tag on them?
Laying out clear instructions also sets limitations to what your buyers can or cannot return after a certain period.
6. You And Your Staff Should Know Your Policy
Whoever is handling shipping and returns needs to be well-acquainted with your returns and refunds policy.
Ideally, only one or two persons should be responsible to handle the shipping and returns section of your website as it will reduce the chances of miscommunication.
7. Create A Liberal Returns And Refunds Policy
Customers are encouraged to buy a product when they know they can easily return it. But your goal as a seller is to reduce the chances of returns so that you can make the most of your ecommerce sales.
Interestingly, by creating liberal returns and refunds policy, you can significantly reduce the risk of returns. How? Let us explain.
When you allow customers more time to return a product, they either forget to return it or develop an attachment to it.
So you can also benefit from this thing by stretching your returns window to at least 60 and a maximum of 90 days.
8. Don’t Copy/Paste
Last but not least, never try to copy-paste someone else's returns and refund policy. It's unethical and can ruin your brand reputation and goodwill in the long run.
Spend your time and resources crafting a unique returns policy highlighting your compensation offer and terms and conditions regarding returns and refunds.