When you sell products online, you’ll need to adapt your return policy to the realities of how your customers get and return your products. Since all products must be shipped to your customer, they will likewise bear the burden of return shipping when the time comes for a product return. You need to adapt your online store return policy to minimize costs for you and the customer.
During one of my purchases from Amazon.com, I ordered a power cable that other customers bought with my primary purchase. Unfortunately, when the products arrived, the cable didn’t work with the product.
Since the cable was about $10, I didn’t really want to go through the hassle of returning the product as I thought shipping alone would reduce any money I got back. Nevertheless, I went to the website and started the return process.
When the Customer Expects Pain, Give Pleasure
Imagine my surprise when the Amazon site told me not to worry about returning the product. They immediately credited my account because I was a “loyal customer.”
I grinned from ear to ear. I didn’t have to pack up the cable, go to the post office, pay for shipping, and wait for my money. It was instant and virtually painless.
At first I thought this was a brilliant move by Amazon to keep customers happy. Then I started to ponder the economics of my situation.
How much does the return cost the company?
Because my cable was so cheap and Amazon’s profit margin was likely minimal on that sale, it was cheaper for them to write off my purchase and give my money back than to pay for handling and restocking the merchandise.
So while the decision to refund my money without the return was likely driven by profitability for the company, they created a customer experience that focused on me and making my impression very positive. It was a double win: the company saves some money and they make the customer happy.
How should you adapt your online store return policy?
With your online store return policy, you, like Amazon, should have a standard policy about how returns are initiated and accepted. However, when the price is right, you may want to consider a similar tactic to Amazon and just refund the money. It will make the customer rejoice and definitely come back to do business with you again.
Even if this online store return policy costs a few dollars per return, it is worth it. Such actions will foster goodwill and loyalty from your customer base that will more than provide a good return on investment.