Although customer returns are not your favorite part of running an eCommerce store, they are an essential part of retail sales. Unfortunately, despite its importance, the United States is yet to have any laws regarding refund and return policies. However, it doesn't mean you should put yourself in the same bracket and ignore the refund value.
Return and refund policies are pivotal for an eCommerce experience. According to a statistic shared by UPS, 73% of people base their future buying decisions on their previous return experience. Furthermore, 67% of the buyers visit the return policy page of an eCommerce website before making a purchase. Hence, return and refund policies greatly impact your customer relationship and profits.
When customers go through your eCommerce website, they look for a refund policy that lays out your store's terms. If the customers feel that your refund policy doesn't meet their expectations, they usually don't like to shop from your store.
Refund policy aims to create a sense of protection for the customers, which means they are more likely to trust your brand if you display your returning procedures. If customers cannot find your return and refund policy, you can expect a high bounce rate on your online store. People will not give your store a high authority and will consider purchasing products from another store. They would fear it would be too complicated to return a product if needed.
Furthermore, if a customer has already made a purchase but cannot find a return policy, they may conclude that it is too difficult to return a product at your store. Eventually, they will write your store off for future buys.
To attain the trust badges of your customers, you must ensure that your return and refund policy is displayed on your website's homepage. This approach would make the customers feel you are upfront about your procedures.
2) Increase Sales and Attract Customers
Many website owners forget that their refund policy can affect their overall marketing strategy. However, the truth is that displaying your return and refund policy on your website's homepage can attract new customers because many shoppers look for it after visiting an eCommerce website.
According to a Narvar Consumer Survey, 49% of customers look for the retailer's return policy before making a purchase. Many customers see the refund policies as a guarantee that their product is good enough or they will get their money back. When a seller confirms that a buyer can get a refund, it sends a message to the customers that the products must be of good quality. Hence, your return and refund policy statement can be a helpful marketing tool that ensures customers can trust your business.
3) Manage Customer Expectations
You will avoid future misunderstandings and disagreements if you manage your customers' expectations. Customers will be able to identify all the required information before they buy a product. For example, they will know what the time limit for returns and refunds is or if there are any restocking charges.
Let's assume that you are running a jewelry store. You can say in your policy states that your items must be in original packaging, or the earrings can't be returned for hygiene reasons. This approach enables you to manage customer expectations and ensures no arguments with the customers about the return of earrings.
Since you are the website owner, you must be detailed about your return and refund policy so that the customers are on the same page as you. The more detail you have in your policy statement, the lesser issues you will face in dealing with your customers.
4) Save Time for Yourself and Customers
If you don't display your return and refund policy on your website's homepage, customers will be forced to contact you. Most upfront queries are likely related to returns, refunds, and exchanges. This incompetence will result in you investing a lot of time repeatedly responding to the same questions.
Furthermore, it will frustrate your customers, who would have to wait for a response instead of simply finding what they were asking about. Once you decide to respond, they may have decided to take their business elsewhere.
To avoid this chaos, you must display your return and refund policy on your eCommerce website. It will ensure that your customers' queries are answered in one concise place.
Policies for Ideal Refund Policies
1) Policy Format
Since you are the website owner, you must avoid using complicated words. Ensure that your customers understand your return and refund policy instantly after reading it.
Ensure that you don't have a demanding language or a choice of words that create a burden on your customers. For example, you must avoid phrases such as 'under any circumstance,' 'at all costs', 'you must require,' etc.
Include the date for returns and refunds. You can consider the transitional grace period if you want to update your refund policy. You must be prepared to honor the policy that was active during the time of purchase.
You must maintain your brand voice, whether casual or conversational. You must make your refund policy consistent with your messaging style.
2) Customer Interactions
Even if you have a clean and well-written return and refund policy, you must include the customer service contact information for further queries. If the situation activating your RCP impacts your contact hours, inform your customers through your website. For example, there can be a possibility that phone calls are reduced, and your customers have to rely on a live chat feature to submit their queries.
Ensure that all your staff members processing the returns and refunds or collaborating with your customers are up to date with the return policy
Give the authority to the customers to make their returns and refunds. You can tell them to do it online and reduce their need to contact customer service.
Email your customers when their refunds or returns are getting processed.
If your customers have encountered a problem, you must take full responsibility for being the business owner. For example, customers may receive a product in broken condition, or they receive the wrong product.
3) Time Frames
Specify refund time frames in round numbers, such as 30, 60, or 90 days. You must make the time frame reasonable so your customer can receive and try the product properly. If there is a serious matter, business owners tend to increase the time frames, so you should do the same.
Inform your customers that their return eligibility starts from the date of purchase, shipping, or the product's receipt.
Manage Orders from Your Simple Store on Strikingly
Strikingly is a professional website builder that allows you to manage all your orders effectively. Once you receive customer orders, you can manage them through a simple store dashboard. There are three types of order statuses that you will see on your dashboard:
Pending: Indicating that your customer has successfully placed an order and their payment is being processed.
Completed: Indicates that the payment process and the order are successful.
Canceled: Indicates that customers have asked for a refund. They will go through your online store's return and refund policy for more information.
Image taken from Strikingly
When customers buy something from your online store, it appears in the 'Pending' portion of the store dashboard. Both you and your customers will get an email notification about the details of a newly placed order.
If you want to place an order, click on 'Pending' order in your simple store section before clicking 'Complete.' Once you are done with an order, you will receive an email notification to mark the conclusion of it. You can also add a note to your email to send it to your customers.
Image taken from Strikingly
Refund policies is the biggest talking point for eCommerce websites if the orders get canceled. Strikingly allows you to send refunds to your customers through the simple store order dashboard. First, you must identify the order where you have to return the money and click the 'Refund' button.
The entire amount will be refunded, and the items will be restocked. Your customers will get an email when the refund is completed. Remember that the refund process can take up to five working days. Once the refund is completed, the order is said to be 'Canceled.' You must also remember that refunds cannot be reversed.
Image taken from Strikingly
Strikingly also provides a feature of exporting orders to a .csv file on your simple store dashboard. Click on 'Export Orders,' and the .csv file will be downloaded on your computer immediately. You can open this file through Microsoft Excel and Google Spreadsheets.
If you look at some of the most successful refund policies worldwide, they attract customers for buying purposes. Customers trust the brands because of their quality customer service. A refund policy can also play a part in your overall marketing strategy to increase customers and online sales.
A refund policy ensures that there is no misunderstanding between the customers and the business owners. It will also enable customers to find answers to their queries on your website, saving you time from dealing with questions on the phone and email. It is always a good habit to make your online store look professional. Hence, you must add a refund and return policy to your website.