5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Return Policy

Published on August 10, 2022
Written by
Filed under Selling Channels
Read time 6 Minutes

Using a cookie-cutter return policy for your ecommerce store? You could be overlooking a valuable way to bring in more sales.

According to a study published in the Journal of Marketing, when online customers could take advantage of a 100% refund guarantee, they spent as much as 357% more! Conversely, when customers had to pay to return an item, 75% or more of them never shopped with that company again.

So how can you take advantage of this sales-driving marketing technique? We know not every ecommerce store can afford to offer free returns and 100% refunds. But with these five easy tactics, you can quickly improve your return policy and bring in new customers. And keep your current customers coming back to your store.

1. Feature Your Return Policy on Your Home Page

Nearly 70% of shoppers won’t buy from your store if they believe returning a product would be a hassle. So making sure they can find your return policy from their very first interaction with you is essential.

Include an eye-catching link to your return policy on every page in a location that’s easy to spot. This includes in the banner, on the right side of the screen, near the shopping cart, and always above the fold. It doesn’t have to be loud or obtrusive; it just needs to be easy to find for those customers who are looking.

2. Be Clear on What You Offer and What You Don’t

When simply reading your return policy is a pain in the neck, most customers assume the return will be, too. Improve your return policy by keeping your language simple and clear. If you take any product back for any reason, let your customers know. If you only accept damaged or defective merchandise, say it. Nobody likes fine print, so cut it.

And if refunding is a last resort, make sure your customers know you’ll exchange their order for a replacement or store credit. Be clear about how returns work with your company, from the time limits on returns to what consumers should do if they need to return something. It keeps customers happy.

3. Give Them Plenty of Time to Make a Decision

Many companies create a sense of urgency with a 45-day time limit on the return policy. They essentially tell their customers, “You need to decide right away whether you like our product.” But customers need to make a decision like that — especially on large purchases — in their own time.

Zappos, well-known for its service, offers a 365-day return policy, and it pays off. “Our best customers have the highest returns rates,” Craig Adkins, Zappos VP of Services and Operations says in Fast Company. “But they are also the ones that spend the most money with us and are our most profitable customers.”

4. Make Returns Easy

Even if you can’t refund every product 100% every time, there is no reason returning an item has to be difficult. One way to make returns easy is to include a prepaid return label. Another way is to offer a simple “Request Return” option. ShipStation’s Branded Returns Portal service can help. And it’s available for free with your ShipStation account.

Here’s how it works:

Your customers can select items they want to return, enter return reasons, and grab and print the return label. It is a fully branded returns experience that includes complete customization down to your brand, social links, and logo.

By showcasing how easy it is to create a return through your site, you are one step closer to getting more sales and conversions. Learn how to set up your Branded Returns Portal on ShipStation and how it can help improve your return policy.

5. Add a Landing Page

After your customer has sent their request, send them to a landing page that lets them know what happens next, including when they can expect their refund or replacement product. This is also the perfect time to thank them for being such a great customer and apologize for any inconvenience. You can also ask for feedback on social media and recommend more products you think they would love. You can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one simply by encouraging engagement.

We would all like to believe our customers love our products so much they would never want to return anything. But that just isn’t the case. An easy to find, clear, customer-friendly return policy is a must in the ecommerce world — and can even generate additional sales. Don’t waste any more time. Improve your return policy now!

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Written by

Margie Zable Fisher

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