How To Handle E-Commerce Returns
The average e-commerce returns rate is higher than that of physical shopping, almost 30% of purchases are returned. How you handle returns, however, can make a huge impact. Most importantly, it’s about having a transparent returns process.
Many of our Shopify clients ask us how to write a return policy for their Shopify store. Every e-commerce transaction through Shopify is to a certain extent an exercise of trust between brand and customer. We recommend that merchants generate a foolproof, clear and concise return policy.
We recommend that our clients even place a brief reference to the return policy on the product pages, so that customers are clear about it, especially if it's the first time they are visiting your store. This is a point of contact for both your customer service team and your customers, so it must be clear in black and white about time, costs, terms and any reservations that could cancel out a full refund. When writing your policy, picture every conceivable (and even inconceivable!) reason for a return, and how your team and brand should react in these instances. Be clear, but don't be afraid to infuse your brand voice in the return policy as well!
If your a larger merchant who is processing a large volume of orders, we recommend using a Shopify app such as Returnly to help reassure customers that they can submit a return without waiting for approval from a customer service representative, and it also streamlines returns in an efficient manner by integrating with popular shipment apps like Shippo and organizing your return processes in a streamlined dashboard. From creating a returns portal for your customers and printing prepaid labels, to tracking packages on their way back to the warehouse, returns management solutions can free up valuable time and provide essential data when trying to prevent future returns.
How to Write a Shopify E-Commerce Return Policy for Your Store
- Keep it simple. Language that is concise straight to the point and free of any legal jargon.
- Consider adding the return policy on the product page, or a link to the return policy.
- During the holiday seasons, if your return policy changes, make sure you notate this during checkout.
- Observe the legal time and conditions per country, as they will differ per territory.
- Give your customers a reasonable time-frame to return items post-purchase.
- Include any product lifetime guarantees associated with your products.
- Emphasize how late returns can affect the refund process. E.g. if an item is returned later than 14 days, will customers still get a full refund, or a gift credit?
- If you sell any items that can’t be returned, such as Covid-19 protective masks or cosmetics, be sure to emphasize this.
- Bring additional charges such as return shipping costs to your customer's attention. Don’t forget to detail any items that may qualify for a free return if applicable, such as damaged goods.
- Explain the expected terms and conditions of the returned items, including packaging and labels.
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