Does Your Business Have a Rewarding Return Policy?

By Brooke Tajer on
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credit card transactionReturn policies need to work for both the business and the consumer. It can be the difference between a good relationship that results in more sales and the consumer deciding not to patronize a business again. Returns, like sales, require time and manpower, and they can incur fees. Aim to prevent returns as much as possible and, if they occur, turn them into sales.

Consumers appreciate flexibility. If you have an online store and an e-store, give customers the option to return items - even if they were purchased online - to the store nearest to them. Ensure that the return process is quick and easy to save the customer time and give them their credit immediately. It also gives you the opportunity to make sales because the customer is in-store. 

Your employees and customers need to know your return policy. Ensure that it is posted at the checkout counter, printed on receipts, and posted on your website. It is helpful to have your employees verbally advise customers of the return policy or any exceptions if they are purchasing an item that cannot be returned.

Look at return policies of other businesses in the industry. Businesses with POS systems tend to be more lenient as they can track credit and debit card sales. In these cases, receipts are not mandatory for returns. General standards for returns include a time limit up to 90 days, and the goods must be in original packaging. Consumers generally get cash returns only when they paid in cash. In other cases, credit or debit cards are credited. Sometimes there are exceptions for sale and as-is items, and these should be made clear at the time of purchase.

Train your employees to turn exchanges into sales. When a customer is in-store, it is an opportunity to sell to them. A return can be turned into an exchange or even a new purchase. Employees need to find out why the product is being returned. Encourage your employees to pay attention to the customer in order to determine whether or not the customer may be interested in other options.  While processing the return, it may be possible to interest customers in other products. When customers are annoyed and obviously want to be in and out, employees should not risk irritating them further. Regardless of the mood or behavior of the customer, ensure that your employees are friendly and professional.