Returns are an ever-present part of email marketing and online sales. It can be a frustrating part but like so much in business, it is something we have to live with. It certain sectors of the market, such as fashion, returns account for more than half of all sales but research assures us that the overall average is around a third.
It means that returns policies will vary depending on your product but there are certain essentials for all of us.
1/ Basic requirements of a returns policy
It is an essential to devise policy for dealing with items returned that is specific to your needs, spelled out clearly for both customers and staff, and one that must, at the very least, comply with the law. View policies from a number of companies, both in your speciality and outside it. Don’t just copy one, but pick the bits that are relevant to you.
2/ Keep it as simple as possible
Explain the policy in non-legal language. Have a link By all means have a link to the legal necessities, but the readily available one should be readily understood by your clientele. Amazon also illustrates the procedure. An FAQ page can be helpful, but if customers ask a question frequently, there’s something wrong with the explanation of your system.
3/ Consider going beyond the legal minimum requirements
Longer returns periods help sales. The research is conclusive. Also have a policy where customers have gone slightly over your limit. Consider how much it costs you to gain subscribers to your email marketing list and whether risking their irritation just because they are two days over is worth it.
If you sent the wrong article or it was faulty, then charging customers for return postage is a sure way to get them to click the unsubscribe button. Remember the threat of social media. Further, these people are regular customers and even if they merely changed their mind, should they pay? Free returns is second only to free shipping in potential customers’ minds.
5/ Dealing with returns
Your in-house policy of how you deal with returned products should be clear to your staff. One specific is that the condition of returned items will vary so there will be a choice of disposition.
For instance: a product has to be sorted into types: simple restock, local repair, manufacturer repair, sell as seconds, breaking for spares or perhaps even item recall. If, for instance, an item was returned because, the recipient says, it was damaged in transit, then your staff should be able to place it without reference to a supervisor. Keep rules simple to ensure efficient processes.
When it comes to resale, work out how to classify an item.
6/ Review the reasons for returns
Work out why items are returned, especially on the more costly items and those that come back most frequently. Then try and eradicated cause.
Work out the total costs of returns. Then work out ways of cutting the costs without cutting effectiveness. Ensure your accounting systems are easily updated.
Your returns policy should protect your exposure but also encourage customer confidence.