Return policies were traditionally only used as a way to guarantee product quality. Interestingly, return policies are now being used as a marketing tool by eCommerce retailers to build trust and genuine relationships with customers.

Customers have started taking a keen interest in knowing about return policies before engaging with an eCommerce brand. A staggering 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase.

An effective return policy helps inspire buyer confidence, and reduces the risk of their purchase. An overwhelming percentage of the customer population looks for it before making a purchase. The truth is your eCommerce return policy is more important than ever.

Here are 6 ways to create a return policy that reflects trust:

1. Make it easy on the eyes


Consumers distrust eCommerce brands which make return policies reader-unfriendly. It feels like an attempt to blindside consumers from knowing about the return process.

Consumers distrust eCommerce brands which make return policies reader-unfriendly. Instead, you should use visual storytelling to explain your return policy. Click To Tweet

In fact, customers might actually bounce off your eCommerce website just because you weren’t as forthcoming as they would have wanted.

Instead, you should use visual storytelling to explain your return policy.

What they did right:

  • No use of jargons
  • Good use of white space, an easy read for sure
  • Concisizing the entire return procedure into three simple steps

Once customers understand the ins and outs of your return policy, they are more confident in engaging with your brand.

2. Make sure your staff knows your return policy

The efficiency of your returns will never exceed the efficiency of the people handling it.

The customer service team, who will be handling all the returns need to be up to date on your policy. The slightest knowledge gap can make the entire return process chaotic for customers.

Pay close attention to training and development, ensure your team is fully aware of the return policy. Considering well-trained teams can handle return queries faster and smoother, the training cost will ultimately be a good investment.

Here are a few customer service training ideas to ensure return queries are handled perfectly:

  • Don’t argue. Teams who try to convince customers to change their decision about returning products won’t be seen as trustworthy.
  • Ask the why. It’s important for your ecommerce to know the reason why they’re returning the product. It becomes easier for teams in the future to handle return queries that have similar reasoning.
  • Respond, don’t react. In cases where customers are unhappy, teams need to approach with a zen mind. When dealing with angry customers, teams need to actively listen, understand, and then respond.

3. Offer recommendations post-return

Bring customer-centricity to your return process. Focus on creating a more personalized experience for customers who are returning your products.

Find out what customers didn’t like about the product and why. Use that information to recommend merchandise that would fit well with customer needs.

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Say, a customer returns a shirt because it didn’t fit them. Use that information to recommend slim-fit shirts which are meant to fit most body types. The effort to ensure customers get the right product makes you an instant hit among customers.

Offer product recommendations post-return. Find out why they returned the product, and recommend an alternative that would suit them better. Click To Tweet

4. Give customers more time for returns

A study shows that the longer your return deadline, the lesser are your returns.

A comfortable extension period makes customers feel at ease about their purchase. This comes from the fact that a long period kills the ‘urgency’ factor on whether to return the product or not.

The pressure of not making a quick decision, allows customers to sit with your product and know it better. As a result, they gain an affinity towards that product. This is because of the ‘endowment effect’ — people value something more they already own over a similar product they do not own.

Zappos is the first eCommerce company to offer a 365-day return policy. According to Craig Adkins, VP of services and operations of Zappos, the generous deadline has tremendously improved profit margins.


5. Online Returns Management Portal

To enhance the shopping experience, give customers more control over the return process.

A centralized return system portal allows customers to implement their returns without the supervision of your customer service teams. This includes shipping options, refund methods, and more that can be done by clicking one button.


6. Flaunt it

Mention your return policy on the website, during customer correspondence, order receipts, and packaging — customers should have every opportunity to review your return process.

The objective is bringing the policy to customers in every way possible. One way is to connect with customers on channels they are most active. Whether its Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or email, give a brief summary of your return policy.

To get more eyeballs on your return policy, create exclusive videos, blogs, and tutorials. Here’s one example:

Putting it together

We learned that an appealing refund policy can be a powerful marketing tool by attracting customers. Your refund policy can also help turn website browsers into buyers by giving them the confidence they need to pull out their credit card.

You can start by piggybacking of some of the successful examples in this post, or taking inspiration from a competitor in your niche. Use the best examples you can find. Keep the aspects that you like, discard the others.

But, remember the final return policy template should mirror your eCommerce brand. It needs to fit your brand’s personality, make sense for your niche and the region you serve.

So, go create an amazing refund policy and market it as a key benefit to shopping with you!