If Your Returns Policy Hasn’t Been Revamped in a While, It Probably Should Be ~
As e-commerce sales grow, it’s no surprise that the issue of customer returns is a hot topic. Returns can take a healthy bite out of profit margins, particularly for online stores.
According to an Invesp infographic for online return rate statistics, at least 30 percent of all products ordered online are returned, compared to only 8.89 percent bought in brick-and-mortar stores. ¹
The convenience and cost of a retailer’s returns program directly impacts customers’ willingness to buy again from the same company. It’s a factor many shoppers consider before making their first purchase. If customers view a company’s returns policy as complicated, rigid or costly, they may choose to buy elsewhere.
The key, experts say, is to create a returns policy that encourages, rather than discourages a buyer to purchase, and there are definitely specific characteristics that will go a long ways to achieving this. Entrepreneur magazine summed them up well six key points, which are as follows:
- Assure customers that making a return is as simple as making a purchase, by offering a convenient and automated online return system.
- Communicate clearly to customers how the return policy works.
- Avoid charging any return shipping fees or restocking fees, to encourage future sales.
- Be flexible with the return policy so that shoppers have an adequate window of time to make returns.
- Inform customers of the return policy in a conspicuous place on the website, so that it’s easily accessible at all times.
- Increase consumer confidence and decrease abandonment by reinforcing the return policy during the checkout process.²
An Opportunity to Drive Even More Sales
For stores with both online and brick-and-mortar stores, a convenient pick up and drop off (PUDO) policy can drive even more revenues.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “About one-third of shoppers who visit a Penney store to make a return spend an additional $60, according to the company. A Kohl’s Corp. spokeswoman said about half of customers make an additional purchase when they make an in-store return.”³
To learn more about what customers want, and what keeps them coming back, check out this infographic by Invesp, below.
In a future blog, we’ll talk about how to streamline the reverse logistics process of customer returns to minimize the disruption and cost to your business. In the meantime, contact us at any time with your questions and comments.
¹ Stacey Rudolph, “E-commerce Product Return Statistics and Trends,” www.business2community.com, April 10, 2016.
² Chris Dunn, “Why It’s Time for Retailers to Embrace Online Returns,” Entrepreneur, May 20, 2015.
³ Suzanne Kappner, “Stores Gear Up For Returns – And More Shopping,” Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2016.
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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost.