Could Your Returns Policy Be Your Competitive Edge?

June 25, 2021
| by David Miles

As time goes on, it’s getting harder and harder to create a totally new product or business idea. But rather than re-inventing the wheel, there are other things about your business that can give you that competitive edge.

What drives a customer to choose your brand over another? What keeps customers coming back?

It all comes down to building loyalty and long-lasting relationships with your customers.

And how can you do this?

By making sure your website, products, and policies all work with the customer in mind.

One thing people overlook when trying to beat their competitors is their delivery and returns policy. We know free and fast delivery is a huge expectation for the modern customer, but what about your returns policy?

Well, that simple process you dread is actually pretty important for building brand loyalty. In fact, 83% of consumers read a returns policy before making a purchase.

Why is a returns policy so important?

The pandemic has been the perfect example of why a returns policy is so important – particularly in the fashion or home industry. Buying clothes or furniture online can be pretty risky – you might buy several items in different sizes or colors to try on at home to help you find the perfect fit. But this is only possible with a great returns policy that has the customer in mind.

When customers read your returns policy, they’re looking out for a few things:

  • A return window of at least 30 days
  • A simple and free shipping option
  • No restocking charges

These three things are something to switch to if you’re not already doing so. 71% of customers consider a restocking fee to be a total deterrent from ordering. So, in order to keep sales ticking over, it’s sometimes best to take the hit for restocking so your customers don’t have to.

Returns are the norm

As a business owner returns used to be doom and gloom: A reflection of a bad customer experience or a physical review of your products. Now, returns are the norm, and actually, 77% of returns are done by repeat customers. Customers are returning more but also returning more. It’s the circle of life.

So why are customers processing returns but returning to the same brand? Well, that’s where a great returns process steps in.

How to create a competitive edge with your returns policy

Keep it out of the fine print

Complicated and jargony returns policies hidden in the fine print of your website Terms & Conditions will deter customers. Your returns policy should be clear, simple, and easy for the customer to access. Many websites now have a specific delivery and returns page on their site which can be found easily in the footer of your homepage. The page details the steps you need to take to process a return.

Make the process as easy as possible

Customers are looking for a free returns policy that can be done used without having to call or email in advance. Most fashion businesses now send out a pre-paid postal sticker for any returns within the original order – making the returns process uncomplicated and smooth.

Put the ball in the customer’s court

Consumers like a choice: From being able to choose different colors of a product, different sizes, or their delivery option. So, give your customers choice in your returns policy, too.

There are actually simple ways to give your customers a choice in the returns process while keeping money within your business:

Gift cards or store credit

By offering customers store credit or gift cards in replace of them returning the item for a refund, you don’t have to spend time processing returns, restocking, and shipping. Instead, you encourage repeat custom and keep the money within your store.

Encourage donations

Another way to build loyalty and trust in customers is to give back. To avoid costly return and restocking fees and admin, you can give customers the option to donate their unwanted items for a refund. While this seems like you lose out, consumers are always looking for brands that reflect their own morals and ethics – so by showcasing your charitable side, customers are more likely to put their loyalty into your brand and head back to your site when they need something new.

Refund without return

Mega e-commerce giants like Wish.com have a simple and smooth returns process which actually requires no return at all. If you aren’t happy with the quality of the item you’ve received, quite often you can speak to an advisor in a live chat and show a photo of the issue to receive a refund. Because the price of shipping back to the manufacturer in China would be too costly, refunds are processed without the customer having to ship the item back.

Use ReturnGo for your competitive edge

ReturnGo pumps energy into your old returns policy; giving it a new lease of life that gives your customers the best return option for them. Using AI technology, your customer will receive the chance to provide feedback on their order to receive the option of a return specific to them. This can be store credits to keep the item or donate it, or they can continue to the normal returns policy for a full refund.

ReturnGO takes all the stress out of returns off of your hands, while working in favor of both you and your customer.

Get your competitive edge now by providing your customers a great returns experience.

Automate Returns & Exchanges

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