How to Write Your eCommerce Return Policy

Having a Return Policy may not be the biggest deciding factor for customers when choosing where to buy, it can significantly affect your customer experience and lifetime value. This is why it’s important to invest time and effort in drafting your return policy. 

If you want to know how to write an effective return policy for your Shopify store, then you are on the right page. In this article, you will get a better understanding of the importance of a return policy and how to make an effective one. 

What is a Return Policy? 

An eCommerce return policy outlines what can be returned and exchanged at your store, many return policies commonly include:  

  • Who is responsible for return shipping 
  • The accepted return conditions
  • Supported return types
  • Return time frame

Steps on How to Write a Return Policies

Steps on how to write an amazing return policy for your Shopify eCommerce store: 

Step #1:
Identify the Purpose of Your Return Policy

The first step in making an excellent return policy is to stop thinking of a refund as a way of losing money. Having an easy-to-understand and use return policy can help turn returns into more sales and improve your brand reputation. 

In fact, 30% of the overall products ordered online are returned. However, 92% of consumers said in a survey that they are more likely to buy again from the same company if the return process is easier.  

Step #2:
Outline Your Conditions and Set Realistic Expectations

It is important to be upfront if not all products qualify for returns, make sure that you are specific about your conditions. 

You have to include the following information: 

  • What should be the condition of the item? 
  • Should it be in its original packaging, or can I return it even if it’s already used?
  • Will you provide a full refund?
  • How will you deposit the refund?
  • How long will the return process take?
  • Who will pay for return shipping?  

Answer the common questions asked by your customers on the return policy page. 

When drafting the outline of your conditions, make sure that it’s also fair to your customers. For example, suppose the product was damaged on arrival, returning the products and being charged with a restocking fee or shipping fee could be a bit much for the customer. Remember, when your customers have a good return experience this can lead to increased purchases in the future. 

Step #3:
Offer Alternatives to Refunds

Consider offering alternatives to refunds to be cost-efficient and satisfy your customers. One of the most common but satisfactory alternatives is store credit. This is a better option because it compels the customer to try your products again and have their disappointment rectified. 

But when offering any type of alternative, make sure to provide an incentive for the customers because refunds are always the most satisfactory option. You can perhaps offer exclusive discounts or gift cards.

Step #4:
Check if it Makes Sense

The final step is to check whether the policy makes sense or not. Read over your return policy. If you still have questions lingering afterward, then it’s more likely that you still need to add more information on your returns page. 

Communicating Your Return Policies

Here are some tips on how to communicate your return policies effectively: 

  • Add a Return and Exchange FAQ Page

Most brands have a dedicated FAQ page about their products. I personally think that might also be an excellent idea for return policies. Instead of waiting for a reply from a customer care representative that can take a few hours or days, customers can browse the FAQ page immediately. This is a win-win solution for both you and the customer because you will be saving time and effort.

  • Keep it Short and Easy to Understand

When writing your return policy, it is safe to assume that your customers are average reasonable individuals. This means that using legal jargon might be complicated or vague for them. To avoid this, use simple and easy-to-understand terms. 

Also, avoid making long return policies. Your customers might get tired of reading long paragraphs and end up missing important information, so it’s best to keep it short. 

  • Use Infographics

Infographics combine visual elements and written words to make information skimmable and easier to understand. You can apply this to return policies because it can compel more customers to read the information. 

Automating the Return Process

The return process is often handled manually. The process typically involves the following steps: 

  • Creating a return request
  • Evaluating whether the product qualifies for a return
  • Exchanges
  • Collecting a Return
  • Shipping Exchanges
  • Providing a Refund

As you can see, each step can be time-consuming for you and your customers. But, there are now tools that will enable your eCommerce to automate your return process. 

The most useful feature of these tools is that they can automatically impose your return policies. So, instead of needing to get in touch with a customer representative, the system in place will assist the shopper on whether they qualify for a return and, if they do, what’s the next step with them. 

However, automating your return process does not mean that software will take care of everything for you. Still, it can reduce the process involved making it more convenient for you and your customer. 

Final Word

A product return usually means that the customer is not satisfied. Having a complicated return policy to a point where customers will not bother to return the item and rectify their dissatisfaction can significantly damage your business. This is why it’s important to create a seamless and effective return policy. 

Besides, you can make your return policy as a customer acquisition engine. This can be done by making the customers’ disappointment into an opportunity to turn their negative experience into a positive one that they can share with their friends and family.