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Do’s and Don’ts for Returns Management
Following our recent post Seven Steps to Reduce Returns, we have got our heads together in the Hallmark Consumer Services offices to create a quick ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ list for online retailers seeking to improve their approach to returns.
- Offer a returns option. Customers are more likely to purchase if they are confident that they can return the product, should anything go wrong.
- Conduct an analysis detailing why returns are made.
- Test your sales material to ensure the customer is getting what they are promised.
- Treat it as an opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service. Be sure to leave customer experience on a high note.
- Include a returns sticker or envelope.
- Make it known that returns are free. This can be used as a marketing tool.
- Stimulate the customer’s imagination with recommendations or virtual looks (clothing specific, measured feet for shoe sizes)
- Consider offering a free trial (using a deposit as collateral). Customers appreciate honesty and feeling special.
- Provide multi-channel availability of returns. (If restricted, use the same method as order process)
- Inform customers on the status of their returns.
- Make sure that your returns process is at least as quick as the initial delivery. Your customers are already in a state of dissatisfaction with their purchase. Every attempt of making the whole process pain-free will reap benefits in customer retention.
- Impose an overly strict returns policy. Potential customers are deterred by this. Less options = Less sales.
- Don’t allow order and delivery dates to be miles apart as the overall desire for your product may diminish over time.
- Misrepresent your product or make promises you cannot keep.
- Perform a return and not wonder why it was caused.
- Scare the customer with your policy. Show them you care.
- Incur a cost. This condones customer attrition.
- Question the return. Treat every incident individually but do be wary of those who return regularly.
- Neglect the overall cost of the process.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on the above. What have we missed? Is there anything else you’d suggest? Please do let us know!
For more information on any aspect of e-commerce, e-fulfilment or selling online, please contact Simon Stanley on 01664485000. You can also view the Hallmark Consumer Services efulfilment guide here.