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Managing Your Online Return Policy

For many shoppers, your online return policy can be what convinces them to make a purchase from your shop, or abandon their cart and continue shopping elsewhere.

online-return-policy-300x200Creating a successful online return policy often means striking a balance between providing good customer service and managing your bottom line. On one hand, customers are less likely to purchase from you if they don’t feel comfortable that you are going to stand behind your products. On the other hand, returns and exchanges can be costly to your business.

To keep your customers happy without losing your shirt, use our helpful tips:

  1. Your online return policy should be straight-forward and easy to read. Don’t use confusing legal terminology unless it’s really necessary, and explain all costs that your customer may be responsible for up front.
  2. Explain the timeline you will accept returns. Many businesses choose a 30-day or 60-day return policy, however, you may also want to have a separate timeline for damaged products.
  3. Tell them what your return process is, and what they need to do to start the return process. If they need to email you, then provide them with an email address or contact form. Provide your phone number if you require them to call for returns.
  4. Make it easy to find your online return policy. If you’re using a NuggetWeb Merchant Shop, or another WordPress website, you could create a page and add it to the footer of your theme. Your widget area (often in the sidebar) is also a good place to link to your page.
  5. Determine who will pay for shipping, and be up front about it. Nobody likes hidden costs, and finding out after-the-fact can upset some people. You should offer to pay for shipping in cases when the product is damaged upon delivery, or doesn’t function correctly.Offering free shipping on all returns is great way to develop loyal customers, so don’t dismiss the idea outright. It may be worth it for your business.
  6. Decide if you will offer store credit, cash or simply exchange the item, and make it clear to your customers. People are generally more willing to accept store credit if they are aware that this is your policy ahead of time.
  7. The best way to manage returns is to prevent them to begin with. Make sure to take the time to provide your shoppers with complete descriptions and clear pictures of your products to prevent confusion and disappointment. This will help prevent many returns from ever happening, which will lighten your work load.
  8. Another way to prevent returns is, if your product requires batteries or other accessories to operate, be sure to verify that your customer is using it correctly. Sometimes it’s the little things that people overlook that can cause the biggest headaches.
  9. Train your staff on your online return policy. Very few things are more frustrating than receiving mixed messages from different employees. Make sure all of your employees are on the same page when it comes to returns and exchanges.

By being clear and up-front about your online return policy, your customers will feel more comfortable knowing that you  will stand behind the products you sell.

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