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How to Write an Ecommerce Exchange/Return Policy that Customers Will Love

person looks at online shop while holding a credit cardPurchasing anything online can be risky for a consumer. What if the order arrives and it’s not quite what they pictured? What if it’s the wrong size? What if they simply changed their mind? No one wants to be stuck with – or lose money on – items they can’t use, which is exactly why, according to data compiled by UPS, approximately 68% of shoppers check a company’s ecommerce return/exchange policy before making a purchase.

As a shop owner, that means the power is in your hands. You have the ability to relieve your customers of some of that worry by offering a flexible, buyer-friendly ecommerce return policy that works in their favor. The less pressure they feel, the more orders they’re likely to place, and the more money you’re bound to make – everyone wins.

What makes a good ecommerce return policy?

As you begin writing your ecommerce return policy, remember to keep it as clear cut and straightforward as possible. Start out by outlining exactly what can or can’t be returned or exchanged, and then include other important details – in easy-to-understand language – like:

  • The eligible return window
  • Whether the customer will receive store credit or a full refund for returns
  • The condition items must be in to be eligible for a return or exchange (i.e., unworn/unused, original packaging intact or tags still attached, etc.)
  • Instructions on how to initiate the return or exchange

And then, make your returns free. Or at least consider it.

Offering free returns

Of course, you know your business best, and we can’t tell you what to do. But return shipping charges are a major sticking point for many consumers. If you are willing to make your returns completely free – meaning no restocking, shipping or other fees – you open up the door to a significantly larger pool of potential buyers. According to Invesp, 27% of shoppers say they would purchase an item that costs more than $1,000 if the store offered free returns, while only 10% would do so if it didn’t offer a free return policy.

If you’re on the fence about this one, as many ecommerce business owners understandably are, a great way to think of it is as an investment in the future lifetime value of your customer. (And that investment is almost guaranteed to appreciate over time.) In other words, if you assume a little bit of risk now by eating that $10 return shipping charge, you’ll see the reward later when that customer continues to return to your site to place subsequent orders.

It’s not uncommon for ecommerce business owners to balk at the idea of free returns and customer-friendly return policies, especially considering each return equates to an immediate loss in revenue. But over time, a good ecommerce return policy can actually turn into greater profits and increased customer loyalty for your business. When done right, your ecommerce return policy can become the differentiator between retaining long-term, returning customers, and relying solely on one-time purchases.

Want to learn more tips and insights about how to grow your ecommerce business? Schedule time to talk to one of our ecommerce experts.

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