Customers who return their purchases are an inescapable part of the retail industry. In fact, Americans returned a total of over $260 billion worth of products in 2015 alone. ReverseLogix, a leading provider of returns management technology, shares that customers now expect businesses to have a product return policy and to offer a good return experience.
Having a clear and concise product return policy has become essential to retailers, especially for online stores. The growth of online shopping has also brought a spike in ecommerce return rates. Ecommerce product returns have overtaken that of brick-and-mortar stores, as 20 percent of online shoppers return their items compared to the 8 to 10 percent return rate that physical stores experience.
Advertising through Return Policies
Product returns are traditionally seen in a negative light as it represents a loss in sales. Today, however, return policies have become a tool for improving business both in the short- and the long-term. A clear-cut return policy, therefore, can help attract more customers and boost customer loyalty. It offers convenience, leniency, and perceived savings for customers, too.
Retailers are encouraged to make their return policies visible in both their physical stores and their packaging. Online sellers, in particular, benefit from highly visible return policies. An easy-to-find return policy in an ecommerce website can make or break a sale, in fact.
A smooth and stress-free product return process attracts more customers, as well. Positive word-of-mouth from previous customers who had an excellent return experience is an invaluable promotion.
Data to Improve Customer Service
The products customers return provides retailers with additional data for predictive analytics. It reveals the type of items that are usually returned, shipping locations with high return rates, and more.
Returns analysis minimizes the likelihood of future returns and improves customer service. It also aids in tailoring retail inventory according to customer preference and trends. For online sellers, it reveals which products may not be represented well on the website — whether it’s through insufficient pictures or inaccurate information.
Consumers value seamless shopping experiences both in online and brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers with transparent return policies and frictionless return processes place themselves ahead of their competitors in customers’ eyes.