What is a Return Window?

Setting a return window builds customer trust, sets expectations, and protects your store from return fraud and financial loss.

What is a Return Window?

A return window is the length of time in which a customer can return a purchased product for a refund or exchange. 

Return windows are designed to give customers the opportunity to inspect and evaluate the product they have received to determine if it’s damaged, defective, or not what they expected.

The return window for most eCommerce stores ranges from 14 to 30 days. Depending on the store policy and local laws, return windows may vary from store to store and product to product. 

Why is it Important to Have a Clear Return Window?

Having a clear return window is important for managing customer expectations, reducing the likelihood of disputes, and streamlining the returns process. 

It’s important to clearly define a clear and reasonable return window that meets customer needs while aligning with your store’s requirements. 

A clear return window can help set expectations and build trust with customers, increasing customer loyalty and driving more revenue for your eCommerce store.

How to Set a Return Window

Decide on a return window for your store based on things like industry standards and local laws. Set your return window as part of your store’s return policy and make sure to clearly communicate the conditions for returns to your customers.

Consider Industry Standards

It’s important to consider industry standards when setting your return window. 

Most eCommerce stores offer a return window of between 14 and 30 days. However, some stores offer longer return windows, and some offer shorter ones. It’s important to look up your local return and refund laws to make sure your return window complies.

Research what other eCommerce stores in your industry are doing to get an idea of what is common practice in your industry.

Consider Product Lifespans

Another factor to consider when setting your return window is the lifespan of your products. 

If you sell perishable items or products that quickly become outdated, you may want to offer a shorter return window. However, if you sell items with a longer lifespan, such as furniture or electronics, you may want to offer a longer return window.

Communicate the Return Window

It’s essential to clearly communicate your return window to customers to ensure a seamless returns process. 

Clearly communicate your return window through your store’s website, confirmation emails, and on any other customer-facing communications. 

Providing this information to customers makes sure they are aware of the return window before making a purchase and prevents frustration during the returns process. 

Long VS Short Return Windows

Long Return Window Pros

A longer return window can build customer loyalty, encourage repeat business, and provide more time for customers to decide whether to keep the item. 

Long Return Window Cons

Having a long return window may increase the risk of return fraud as well as returns of damaged or used items, and require more resources to handle returns. 

Short Return Window Pros

A shorter return window can reduce the risk of return fraud and require fewer resources to handle returns. 

Short Return Window Cons

Having a short return window may discourage customers from making purchases and lead to reduced customer satisfaction.

Ultimately, you must determine the length of your store’s return window based on the needs and priorities of your business.


What is considered a return?

Shopify Returns

Returns vs. exchange

Product Returns Factors

Returns Best Practices

Returns Metrics