E-commerce retailers love the Christmas season’s sales surge – less-loved is the inevitable wave of January returns. The “boomerang” month after the holidays sees more returns than any other time of the year. But prepared online retailers can leverage these returns to create satisfied customers beyond the holiday season, loyal for years to come.
Just how good does my return policy need to be?
The short answer? Pretty darned good.
That’s because 33% of online shoppers will complete an online purchase if the returns process is easy. If holiday shoppers don’t like your return policy (or if they can’t find it), they’re less likely to give you their business – which can have a crucial impact on your holiday season success.
What are the must-haves for your holiday returns strategy?
Make it clear
Make your returns policy easy to locate and understand. Feature key policy changes, like an extended return deadline during the holiday season, directly on your home page. This small change could boost your shopping cart conversion rates – especially with first-time gift buyers during the holidays.
Make it simple
Offer a simple returns process. Consumers evaluate how straightforward your returns experience is before they make their gift purchases. This is especially true during the holidays, as they want their family and friends to have an easy process when exchanging or returning gifts.
Make it flexible and convenient
Consider extending your returns window during the holidays. Customers taking advantage of a Cyber Week sale to buy Christmas gifts will look for January returns deadlines so that their recipients have time to return gifts, if needed. As well, give customers the option to return items by mail or, if you have retail locations, in-store.
An added benefit of providing convenient returns? Less impact on your customer service network. A customer-friendly, straightforward process means fewer calls to your network – and less grumbling on social networks.
Be ready for returns to start earlier
Last year, return volumes increased 17% during Cyber week, compared to the week prior. So keep this in mind while getting your operations ready. Make sure to also account for potential high volumes of returns in January, especially if you offer an extended return deadline. Last year, holiday returns were being processed until the end of January.
Use your returns experience to drive loyalty
We know that 77% of shoppers will stop shopping with a retailer after a bad returns experience – so lean into your returns experience to keep gift buyers and recipients coming back after the holiday season. A few simple ways to do so:
- Ensure all enabling teams and processes are primed and aligned to implement your strategy heading into the peak season
- Reduce any delays to processing returns and getting shoppers that ever-important refund.
You might be too busy to polish every aspect of your returns policy for this holiday season. But even a quick tweak so that your returns policy is clearly visible on all your customer-facing store pages, and that it’s easy to understand, will help you build happier, loyal customers.