After gaining a good sense of what’s involved in shipping goods, the next question many newcomers to ecommerce have is how to handle return shipping. Just as a shipping policy can have an outsized impact on where a customer does business, a store’s return policy is also given a lot of weight by many shoppers.
Your options include having the customer pay for return shipping, covering it yourself, or some combination of the two. If you choose to have customers pay for return shipping, the burden will be on them to package the goods back up and bring them to their post office, so there is little extra effort required on your part—although, not every customer is going to be happy with this policy.
However, if your company is going to absorb the cost and offer free return shipping on every order, the best way to go about it is to include prepaid labels inside the shipping box. Not only will this make it easier for the customer tor return the goods, but it will also save you time because you won’t have to send it to them later.
If your company takes the “happy medium” approach and shares the cost of return shipping with customers, experts advise instituting an email step to make sure they understand the terms. Otherwise, they may assume it’s covered when they see the pre-printed return labels and then be concerned – or possibly even upset – when they find the shipping cost deducted from their total later.
What happens when someone only wants to return an item or two from a multiple-item order? This is when your packaging can make or break you. You don’t have to worry about the number of items returned with prepaid labels as you won’t be charged until the carrier scans it, but if you’re using a big box, the number of items won’t matter as carriers charge for the dimensional weight. This is why clothing retailers use poly bags; the returns will be a smaller size and weight and therefore cost less. It’s essential that you keep this in mind when devising your strategy.
Return shipping shouldn’t be an afterthought. By giving the logistics of your return shipping careful consideration, you can keep customer satisfaction high without hurting your bottom line too much.
This blog post was based off of an article from Shopify. Read the original here.