Return Policies for SMBs

Return Policies: How to Make Them Fair and Effective

Return policies have changed over the past 10 years. How do yours stack up? Are they complicated, or simple? Are they easy to read, or do you feel like you need some sort of decoder ring to really understand them?

Having an easy to understand return policy is JUST as important as having a fair one. As a matter of fact, customers who can easily find, understand, and use a return policy tend to be more loyal.

Want proof? A recent study done by Capterra indicated that “…of the 60% of online shoppers that make at least one return or exchange per year, 95% will make another purchase if the return experience was positive.” Consequently, modern companies need to re-think how they feel about returns, because of today’s consumer habits and expectations have changed dramatically.

The following are four best practices on crafting perfect return policies.

 

1. Return Policies Need to Be Simple

Take for example the return policy at Purple Mattresses.

First of all, they thank you at the beginning. Why? Because when you’re returning something, that means you’ve made a purchase, which makes you a customer, which means you should be shown some appreciation.

Second is the structure. Searching for return and exchange information at Purple is easy because of how it’s organized. Policy and warranty details follow each type of product they list with the corresponding contact information and directions.

Finally, they clearly define restrictions. Taking the guess work out of your policies will help for better understanding. Not only can prospective customer make easier buying decisions, they can access and contact the proper channels in the event of a return.

 

2. Make them Easy to Read

The best return policies are writing in Laymen’s terms. Why? Because if your return policy is easy to understand, it gives your customers more trust in your brand through transparency. Additionally, it provides you an opportunity to show how easy your company is to work with. As a result, customer will spend more time shopping, and less time worrying if their post-sale service will match their buying experience.

A great tool to make sure your policies are easy to understand is by checking it against the Flesch Readability Test. This test is great at providing insight to improve readability and understanding. The easier, the better! Keeping your score above 60 will ensure your writing is easily read by practically anyone.

 

3. Paint a Positive Picture

Firstly, returning items can be scary—and it’s key to have a policy that reduces fear. Try keeping the wording you use to describe your return policies amicable. The rule of thumb is to avoid writing about things you don’t do, and focus on things that you do.

For example, “we don’t accept returns after 30 days”.  This phrasing makes customers think you don’t like returns. They are literally reading the words “we don’t accept returns”. Alternatively, you could write it as, “we gladly accept return request up to 30 days after delivery date”. As a result, not only do they know they can return items, but they have a full month to submit a request.

If you want to take this one step further, you could even offer returns over 30 days—subject to approval. This can make customers feel safe with purchasing from you because they feel you are willing to work with them beyond standard policy.

 

4. Provide a Road Map

There is nothing more frustrating that not knowing to do something simple; like returning something. Additionally, returns are usually pretty frustrating in the first place, so complicating the process just adds insult to injury. Consequently, this is an opportunity for your company to build trust by proactively educating your customers. And making their experience better.

Accomplishing this is easy:

  1. Include return instructions in your packaging; like on a shipping slip, receipt, or stand alone insert. This provides your customers with a physical copy of instructions readily available as soon as they open their package.
  2. Include instructions on the “package delivered” email notification, or perhaps days after the order arrived. The key here is to make this easy, and assessable. You could even disguise this by requesting a review for a particular item in their order, and follow up with your return/exchange instructions.

We hope you enjoyed reading about crafting the perfect return policy. Providing stellar return policies is part of VersAccounts‘ New Rules on Winning in the Age of Amazon. To download our ebook and learn six rules every business owner should be considering, use the link below.

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