How to Make Online Gift Returns & Exchanges Easy
Rebecca Fox

November 1, 2023

Gifts often fail to live up to expectations, and gift recipients are left with an item they can’t use. Offering gift recipients an easy way to return their gifts online gives your Shopify store a competitive advantage.

The global gift market is expected to reach around $68.5 billion by 2024. Gift returns are an expected part of the holiday season and an essential part of your store’s relationship with your customers throughout the year. 

With so many gifts being given every year, it’s essential to have a plan in place to handle online gift returns.

The Gift Problem

While holiday eCommerce return rates are about twice as high as the rest of the year, customer satisfaction with those returns is lower. Not every gift is a success. Even the most thoughtful family members and friends often end up gifting something that gets sent back or simply never used.

Every holiday season, people receive gifts of clothes and accessories, but sizes are often guessed wrong and gift recipients are stuck with a shirt or pair of pants that don’t fit. When people buy gifts from a physical store, gift receipts are usually included so that they can take back what doesn’t fit and exchange it for the right size. 

More and more people are doing their holiday gift shopping online, and unfortunately, many online stores don’t offer online returns and exchanges.

44% of customers say that return policies influence what holiday gifts they purchase. Provide an attractive solution by offering online gift returns or exchanges and making the customer experience as easy as possible for gift recipients.

Handling Online Gift Returns

Put the Gift Recipient in Control

It’s hard to get sizing right when buying a gift for someone else. In fact, 52% of Shopify returns are due to sizing issues.

Unless you offer online gift returns and exchanges, your customers are stuck either asking for a regular refund (which awkwardly goes back to the gift giver) or being stuck with something they can’t wear or use.

Put the gift recipient in control by enabling them to return their gift online, without needing to go through the gift giver or contact your support team. Offer a convenient self-service process, and give gift recipients the power to get an item they can actually use.

Make Sure Your Return Window is Long Enough

If a customer has to return gifts from a few different eCommerce stores, which do you think is going to leave them the happiest? The store that lets them seamlessly return or exchange gifts on their own time? Or the store that forces them to jump through hoops just to get a t-shirt in a different size? Easy online gift returns are a great opportunity to make your store stand out from your competitors.

People often begin buying holiday gifts as early as October or November, and if your return window is say 30 days, by the time the gift gets to its recipient it will be too late for it to be returned. 

Consider offering an extended return window during the busy months. For example, Amazon’s holiday return deadline is January 31 for orders shipped between November 1 and December 31. This gives gift recipients plenty of time to return their holiday gifts.

On the other hand, you might also consider extending your return window year-round. Gifts aren’t just for the holidays; people give gifts throughout the year for birthdays and anniversaries as well.

Offering a generous return window shows gift recipients that you care about them getting the right product, which can lead to them becoming new customers.

Automate the Gift Return & Exchange Process

Manually handling gift returns and gift exchanges can be difficult to near-impossible, especially during the busy holiday season.

Automating your return and exchange process makes it easy for gift recipients to return their gifts and get a different size, color, or different product altogether. 

Hassle-free online gift returns are important, especially during the busy holiday season. Make your customer experience as smooth as possible and save yourself time and money by automating the gift return and exchange process.

Embrace Online Gift Returns

The holiday season can be a stressful time for shoppers. It’s no surprise that many gifts fall flat, given that there are so many expectations around gift-giving. 

By offering an easy gift return and exchange process, you reassure your customers that if their gift recipient doesn’t like the gift or it doesn’t fit, they can easily exchange it for something they’ll enjoy.

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