How To Manage E-Commerce Return Policies And Refunds

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Your items arranged via your reputable product sourcing agent are confirmed and delivered. Website, payment gateways and ads are running. But something very crucial is missing, your store's refund and exchange policy.

As an e-commerce store, an important aspect that customers value is a reliable return policy. Enabling returns on products acts as a safety blanket that assures customers that if they receive the wrong or damaged product, they can always get a refund and re-purchase their product. Some customers even specifically look for such policies. They safeguard them from getting cheated on for a product they didn't even get to use. 

When working in e-commerce, the policy is important because shipping is entirely in the hands of the carrier of choice. While most carriers like FedEx or UPS have a policy for damaged and delayed orders, opting for freight carriers can put the brand in a fix. Having a return policy that works for both customers and the store is equally important, and this is why an upgrade to that value customers and the product is necessary. 

The 365-Day Returns Conundrum 

Before discussing the upgraded returns policy, it is important to know why the change took place. Zappos was the inspiration for the previous returns policy. A 365-day free shipping and return policy work perfectly while instilling the value a store places in its customers. 

On the other hand, having hefty fees for shipping and a restocking fee will only help to lose customers to the competitors. In the current atmosphere, shipping plays an equally important role in attracting customers. Completely denying returns or charging fees has the opposite effect and repulses the customers instead. 

When it comes to e-commerce, where the competition is high, and it's extremely important to calculate the risks, shipping is important. It creates a unique agenda that helps to outshine the competition and give priority to customer service. Building trust with customers is an important aspect as it enables retention and customer loyalty. Customers are likely to purchase from a brand that they’ve had a good experience with. A return policy is crucial for that experience assuming that you want to make good money with dropshipping. 

Hence, to suit all the above criteria and give priority to customers, a 365 day returns policy took precedence. However, this policy has the downfalls that make it dissatisfactory for the brand. The primary concern for it is the abuse of policy that takes place.

Abuse Of Return Policy 

While valuing customers is of the utmost importance, when it comes to business, giving too much leeway can seriously hurt a company's bottom line. As an example, let's use the fitness equipment company FringeSport for a case study. 

E-commerce return policy abuse can significantly reduce FringeSport’s net revenue. The 365-day return policy has major drawbacks, one of them being an abuse of the policy itself. 

Considering returns were available with no strings attached, it was often exploited. Cases of individuals using the item for 11 months and then returning or using it for important events emerged consecutively. This is incredibly frustrating and leads to a loss of revenue as the entire brand is treated like a for rent outfit by the customers. 

Since e-commerce brands are at the end of the day business, it is important to safeguard the brand and its products. This means making more restrictions but while still hoping for customer value to reflect in the returns policy. This led to the updated policy that FringeSport now follows. 

Upgraded Return Policy 

The upgraded policy focuses on integrating customer value as well as brand prestige for ecommerce businesses. To achieve this, a need for business and the customer’s satisfaction is kept in mind. Through this policy, the returns are available with full refunds in the first 30 days post-delivery. The shipping cost is also paid for by FringeSport. 

However, after that till 365 days returns occur with a full refund if unopened and in the original box. The return shipping cost must then be borne by the customer. 

That makes the upgraded policy a confident choice. Customers can still have an aspect of the 365-day returns for the first month, but the rest is more stringent. 

Another aspect of the policy is "we stand behind every customer and sale." Customer value is of utmost importance. FringeSports products are made, keeping in mind that "we only sell what we love to lift on." Due to this, all customers are eligible to opt-in the trade-in program or take the brands help to sell the product on their local craigslist. 

Return Policy Conclusion 

Since its birth, FringeSport takes great pride in caring for their customers and products and giving them a priority. Due to this, their shipping process is efficient. The upgraded returns policy stands for these values. This makes for one of the strongest Unique Selling Price that an e-commerce brand can offer. So when it comes to a return policy for your ecommerce business, make sure not to cheap out!

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