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There is a lot of competition these days when it comes to e-commerce. Because the barrier to entry is so low, there has been a boom in online stores opening. This means you need to make sure your customers are happy and come back if you want to beat the rest.
One of the most difficult aspects of running an e-commerce store is handling returns. We have all been there before. We want something we see online but aren't sure we love it. And if we don't love it, it has to go back, right? If we can do that, so should your customers.
This article explains how to process the returns in your ecommerce store in a way that works for you and your customers.
1 – Have an RMA system
This is a return authorization system that people can use to arrange returns before sending the old item back. This is good for the customer as it helps reduce the amount of time they don't have the item they want.
If the wait is only a few days or less when using a Next Flight Out Courier for your shipment, the customer is less likely to have a negative experience. They understand that both you and them can make mistakes, but the most important thing to them is how quickly the problem can be fixed.
This is a classic win-win situation. Your client wins because they didn't have to keep the thing they thought they'd love and realize … not so much. You win because you didn't have to spend a lot of time with a client who would quickly turn into a grudge game.
It also allows you to monitor more closely how the returns are affecting your profits.
2 – return for exchange
There are two different things the customer might want to do when initiating a return. In one scenario, they are completely dissatisfied with the product and start the return process so they can get a refund. In your opinion, this is clearly best avoided as processing returns costs more money.
Another scenario is that the item would have been satisfactory had it not arrived damaged or improperly fitted. In this case, they still want the item, so they decide to exchange it. This includes sending the damaged item back and getting a replacement.
Make sure you have clear definitions for both so you know if swapping is a viable option. There are times when an item will be refunded when an exchange could have solved the problem.
3 – Write a clear return policy
First-time buyers on your website will likely check your return policy before making a purchase.
They want to know if they are insured in case they receive the wrong product or are in any way unhappy with the purchase. It pays off for you to have a very clear return policy that covers many different scenarios.
Make sure it is clear at a glance which items can or cannot be returned, which can be exchanged, and whether there are any costs to return the item. And how long can it take? For example, giving someone 30 days is usually a reasonable time to decide whether or not they love it.
The problem right now is that a lot of people try to wear something only once and give it back. If they are going to do this, they are at least pressed for time and may forget long enough before they cannot return it.
4 – Track the perpetrators
Speaking of people who only buy to try out an outfit or to use a product once. You need a system to sort these people out. You run a business and these are not your customers. Get software that tracks the IP address of those who shop with you in addition to their address and credit card information.
If they have more than a couple of returns, it's time to blacklist them and decline further orders. Returning here and there is certainly forgivable – especially if it's a good customer who often keeps what they buy. But there are plenty of other guys who take advantage of it, and you have to nip that in the bud.
Are you looking for more practical business tips? Check out our small business section here.