Customers will be conscious of buying from a retailer if they can’t give a guarantee on products they’re selling. A crisp, clear and well-presented refund policy provides customers with a sense of security and the assurance that their purchase will be as advertised.
Customers shopping online don’t get the chance to see products in the flesh; take away this inconvenience with a clear and straightforward refunds policy that the consumer can rely on if the product is not how they had perceived.
A successful refund policy should clarify key questions: is a product suitable for return (e.g. food products are often non-refundable in a non-supermarket commerce), how long does the refund policy last for and is the customer eligible for a full refund or store credit?
A successful refund experience can only progress if using clear communication. Let the customer know you care, and they will come back for more. Retailers should always ensure their return policies are explicit and easy to find on the website.
Tips for a clear refund policy
Avoid returns early on: customers will return goods when they are unsatisfied with the purchase, so be sure to provide enough information to avoid confusion. Good quality images and an accurate description will keep returns to a minimum as consumers will know exactly what they are receiving. Ensure there is a way to get in touch with you, should any questions arise prior to purchase. Online chat facilities have become more and more utilised as they are a quick way for people to get answers without having to pick up the phone.
Finding it difficult to locate the refund policy?
A refund policy should be well presented and preferably highlighted early on in the buyer’s journey. There should also be links to the policy on each product, so the customer does not have to navigate. To avoid misunderstandings, send your refund policy as part of the confirmation of purchase email, and also delivered with the item, so consumers have all the information to hand.
Accept that refunds come in different forms: you can provide customers with their full refund, offer an exchange or give them credit to spend in store. Depending on the products you sell, one of the main reasons for someone returning the item is because they chose the wrong size/model. Prevent the loss of sales by offering an exchange for the correct product and only offering full refunds in extreme circumstances.
Attract customers with free returns: if you offer a free returns system be sure that your customers know about it. Customers may avoid buying from ‘online only’ clothing sites if it will leave them out of pocket should they change their mind. Sites like ASOS and Dorothy Perkins offer free returns, benefiting the company sales and the customers’ value.
Request reviews, receive respect:when someone has purchased from you, there’s no harm in sending them a follow-up email a few weeks later asking them to review the buying process. When customers contribute their opinions to your site, it can help others make the decision to buy from you. It also allows you to find out how a customer experienced your service and to improve any elements for future customers.
If you’re in fear of receiving negative feedback, set up your website so that you have to accept reviews before they appear on the site. That way you can resolve the issue before damaging your reputation.
Having a refund policy is key to your business: not only does it prevent you losing money, it gains trust and loyalty from present and future customers. These tips can help you create a clear, understandable policy that people can follow without confusion.