Being able to run an eCommerce shop without a physical high street presence has given small businesses a huge opportunity to grow and reach a wider audience. However, to keep customers satisfied and guarantee that they will buy from you again, having an excellent shipping and returns policy is vital.
A shipping and returns policy spells out exactly what a customer can expect from you when they make a purchase in your online store.
A shipping policy should contain everything your customers need to know about the shipping process, from shipping options to shipping costs, where you ship to and any other important details they need to know. A clear shipping policy will help you manage your customers’ expectations and help your customers make the right decision when purchasing a product.
And according to various consumer surveys, almost 50% of online shoppers say that they will not buy from a store for the second time if they have an unsatisfactory shipping experience.
A returns policy enables the customer to know where they stand if the product is not right. No brand feels enthusiastic about receiving returned goods, whatever the reason, especially after all the hard work that goes into designing and manufacturing a product, and the uplifting feeling when you make a sale. If that product then comes back to you unwanted, it is easy to feel disheartened.
However, perhaps it is time to consider your returns policy as a fundamental part of your brand strategy. Many consumer studies now show that in actual fact, a good returns policy is a fantastic way of increasing customer satisfaction and encouraging brand loyalty.
Many companies spend a lot of their budget on customer acquisition, but it is also worth investing in customer retention, and one way to do this is to focus on creating a good shipping and returns policy. If you make it very clear to your potential customers what they can expect from you, you will be much less likely to have dissatisfied customers.
In this article, we tell you about the three Us of a good shipping and returns policy: UPFRONT, USEFUL and UNDERSTANDING.
Online eCommerce companies must have a clear, fair shipping and returns policies if they want to succeed. Very few customers will buy something if they are not sure when they will receive the product, or whether they will get their money back if the product turns out not to be suitable for them.
It is also important to make sure that your shipping and returns policy is highly visible, and not hidden away somewhere no one will see it. Use it as another selling point for your eCommerce company, making it clear to customers when they will receive their purchases, and that they can easily return any items they purchase from you and get their money back.
According to various studies, an inconvenient shipping and returns policy puts off 80% of shoppers. This figure shows us just how important these policies can be. Providing real time information about when the purchase will be received, for example, is very useful. Any actions you take to make the returns process simpler, such as providing shipping labels, return packaging and clear instructions, will also be appreciated by your customer. And when customers have a positive experience of a brand’s returns policy, it can increase sales, decrease returns and improve customer loyalty.
Customer feedback about the shipping service and any returned items is also useful to you, the company. Feedback from customers will help you develop a customer-focused shipping and returns policy that may lead to better business decisions and increased profits. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers how satisfied they are with the shipping experience or why they are returning an item. Then use that information to improve your services, products and/or the information about the products provided on your website.
And remember: if customers find themselves forced to keep an item because the return policy is complicated or entails an unexpected cost, they will be extremely unlikely to ever purchase from you again.
A positive customer service experience is the key to brand success. One of the ways to guarantee this is to listen to your customers and be empathetic and flexible when it comes to returns, and open to suggestions when it comes to shipping.
Not receiving a delivery on the day they expected to can inconvenience your customer, and maintaining good communication with your customers can help you decide if the shipping company you have chosen is fulfilling your expectations.
Also, you mustn’t take a returned item personally. On the contrary, if a customer returns an item and the returns process is simple and easy, they will be more likely to come back to you when they need something else.
If you really believe in your product, then you should feel confident that when the product arrives, your customer will love it. And if they don’t, for whatever reason, then show some empathy and understanding.
Chances are, your customers will appreciate it, and so will you when they come back to your brand for future purchases, and talk highly of you to their friends, family and acquaintances. Returning customers are easier to sell to, spend more money on each purchase, share positive posts about your brand, and increase profitability. So, what are you waiting for?