How to Write Your eCommerce Return Policy
July 02, 2021
by Rebecca Fox

It’s essential to write your return policy in a way that clearly explains everything customers need to know before their purchase. Your Shopify store’s return policy can make or break a sale, and turn a visitor into a customer for life.

Over 60% of customers read a return policy before placing an order, making your return policy the most frequently visited page on your site. Having a clear and well-defined return policy reassures your customers that they can return or exchange their order if something arrives damaged or is the wrong size. 

If you want to know how to write an effective return policy for your Shopify store, then you are in the right place. In this article, you will get a better understanding of how to create a return policy that suits your eCommerce business. 

What is a Return Policy? 

Return policies commonly include information like who is responsible for return shipping costs, what types of compensation you offer, how long the return window is, and any other relevant details your customers need to know about your returns process.

How to Write A Clear Return Policy

  1. Determine Your Priorities

Your return policy is an extension of your brand and represents your company’s core values. Put time and thought into planning a return policy that fits your eCommerce business.

Ask yourself what your brand values are and what makes your store unique. Is it your high-quality products? Your commitment to sustainability? When your brand’s message has been defined, you can create a return policy that reflects that message.

  1. Outline Your Conditions

Time Frame for Returns

It’s important to let your customers know how long they have to return an order. Make sure to give customers enough time to decide if they want to make a return.

While 63% of customers expect a 30-day return window, each eCommerce business has its own terms and considerations, and there is no right or wrong way to handle it. There are stores with 14-day return windows, stores with 365-day return windows, and everything in between. It is important to define your return time limit based on your products and customer base. Consider experimenting with different time frames to find the right balance between establishing trust and discouraging abuse.

Note that it’s important to be clear about the definition of the return window. Does the return window begin once an order is shipped or once it arrives?

Expected Condition of Returned Products

Specify what condition a product must be in to be returned. Do products have to be undamaged? With the original tags on?

A clear description of the expected condition of returned items ensures that customers know whether their products can be returned or not.

Product Eligibility

Make sure customers are aware of your requirements for returns. Specify if products must be sent unopened or in their original packaging, and let customers know if they need an authorization number, shipping address, or receipt.

  1. Define Your Solutions

Types of Returns

Outline the types of returns and exchanges you offer, and which options are available for each type of product. Explain how refunds, exchanges, and store credit are handled, as well as how long customers can expect to wait for a refund or replacement.

Additional Fees

List any additional charges such as return shipping, restocking, or handling fees. 

Some Shopify stores charge restocking and handling fees to cover the cost of restocking or repackaging a product to get it ready for resale. 

Additionally, consider whether you want to offer free return shipping. 79% of online shoppers expect return shipping to be free, and 49% of eCommerce stores offer free return shipping.

Decide what fees work best for your business and state them in your return policy.

Instructions for Requesting a Return

Be clear about the steps customers need to take to return an item. Knowing what to expect from the return process helps reassure customers before making a purchase.

Explain what information the customers need to have to request a return (receipt, original tags, order number, etc), describe how the returns process works, and how long the process is expected to take.

  1. Communicate Your Return Policy

Make your return policy easy to find. Use a visible button or place links in easy-to-find places, such as in your site’s footer, on the checkout page, and in emails to your customers.

The easier it is to find your return policy, the better. Display your policy in a way that’s impossible to miss.

Tips for Writing Your Return Policy:

Use Easy-to-Understand Language

Write your return policy in a clear and straightforward manner, using simple language, easy-to-read fonts, and a clear and uncomplicated format.

Use headlines and bullet points to divide up the page, and make sure the language you use in your return policy is clear and plain so that misinterpretations are prevented. 

In short, keep your return policy as simple as possible.

Be Transparent

Your return policy is there to provide your customers with clarity about the returns process. Make sure to clearly define every aspect of returns, and answer all the questions your customer may have. Be honest and transparent about every part of the return process, and stay true to your brand’s tone and values.

Give Your Return Policy the Attention It Deserves

Remember that your store’s return policy may be the most read page on your website. Return policies are not only an opportunity to explain your return process and requirements, but also a way to make a good impression.

When creating your return policy, take the time to map out your goals and create a plan. You can brainstorm ideas, research, create drafts, and seek advice. 

A clear and well-defined return policy gives customers confidence in your business and demonstrates that you care about your customers. Happy customers are more likely to keep coming back and refer your store to their friends and family.

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