The world of eCommerce has opened a path for every individual to sell products online. However, to become a successful brand that attracts numerous buyers is no easy task: one has to foster trust and loyalty, appealing to mass audiences and turning them into repeat customers.

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

One way to achieve this goal is to create a transparent return policy that will serve as a guarantee for online users. Many online brands already use them,serving as examples for fellow entrepreneurs.

Let’s see what differentiates them and makes them outstanding:

  • Best Buy offers an impressive refund policy that allows consumers to exchange and return their products if they do not meet customers’ expectations.
  • Amazon allows third-party stores to create their own return policies, sampling and changing it if necessary.
  • eBay marketplace has strict regulations handling third-party returns. If you create an unfair refund policy, eBay implements a money back guarantee that deletes the previous agreement and makes your store return the money to users.

Required by law in every country, a refund policy serves as a guide that tells your clients how, when, and where they can return or exchange products. It aims to protect digital buyers and sellers from fraud and illegal actions.

However, many consumers know exactly how to return something to Amazon but fail to find transparent return policies on other stores. This happens because store owners don’t devote time to writing a good copy of this legal document, confusing and disappointing clients.

There are certain things one must keep in mind when creating a clear and transparent refund policy. What are they?

  1. Avoid complicated wording

Use simple terms that won’t lead to confusion. If you use complex language, such as professional or lawyer jargon, your customers will find it difficult to understand the information. You should talk to your customers using terms that are familiar to them. Simplify your messages with plain English and avoid jargon.

Remember that your target audience doesn’t want to bother with instructions that are difficult to comprehend. You should try your best to save your clients’ time and write a clear copy of your refund policies. Also, you can add your contact details to let clients contact you when they want to pose questions about your return policy.

  1. Let users find the information easily

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

Use every single opportunity to promote your website’s return and exchange policy. Place these instructions on the website’s home and product pages. Users should be able to access the information from everywhere on your website.

You can also include the return policy in emails that confirm a purchase or place it directly on the packaging. Your customers should have unlimited access to this information and should be able to review it when necessary.

In the majority of cases, users know how to return an item to Amazon because of the accessibility of the information. On Amazon, merchants can paste a link to the return policy under the “add to cart” button. This can help you build trust among your customers: it shows that you care about the needs of your clients and want your policy to be clear and accessible for everyone.

  1. Customize the offer for your company’s needs

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

You cannot just copy an Amazon refund policy and paste it on your e-store. Your return policy should be a reflection of your business and the ideas that you spread among the audiences. You can get inspiration for reviewing third-party policies and adopt some ideas for your own store. However, what is good for one brand, might not work for you: you will have to adjust the rules and instructions for your products.

Personalize your offer using what you know about your target audience. You can accept some items for refund and set the limits for specific products. Take into account the current state of your business and adjust your return policy from time to time.

Some merchants on Amazon offer free returns while others live by a “no refunds” policy. In the latter case, you must be truly sure about the quality of your products and the loyalty of your customers! On the other hand, implementing a “no return policy” approach could damage your brand’s credibility.

  1. Explain the procedure in details

You should write out simple instructions of how you are going to refund or replace the item. Include several options of how your store can manage the situation when a customer wants to replace an item that is damaged, the wrong size, or the wrong color. You can return the cash or replace the product: it is up to you to decide how to handle each situation. Keep in mind that a full refund is not the only option for your business.

You should provide clear details on the returns procedure, e.g.:

  • Limit the timing: you can offer the opportunity to return an item within 30, 60, or 120 days’ time
  • Define who pays for packaging
  • Identify who pays the shipping charges
  • Allow your clients to use in-store credit instead of giving a cash refund, etc.

Amazon’s return policy allows clients to choose any option that responds to their needs, so clients do not feel any pressure in making their decisions.

  1. Do not hide extra fees

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

It may upset your clients if you do not disclose all of the information regarding fees that may occur. Include the information about the charges that your return policy has to offer. If you expect your clients to cover the shipping costs and do not include that information where it can be found, this may lead to numerous complaints that can go viral on social media.

Be fair and cover the costs if it is your fault. Otherwise, it may damage your brand and cause clients to stay away from it forever.

  1. Educate your team members

If you want a smooth and quick workflow when handling orders, make sure your managers can carry out the conditions included in your return policy. Without it, it is impossible to organize a return policy that is as excellent as Amazon’s. If you introduce any changes to your return policy, spread this information among your employees as soon as possible. This will help to save time and eliminate recurring questions from your clients.

How Ikea, Macy’s and Best Buy convert with the help of a return policy

  1. Be flexible

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

A recent study suggests that online consumers tend to avoid purchasing from brands that offer high-rated return shipping fees. However, if you make the shipping and returns free-of-charge, you may lose revenue and annual profit in the end. Try calculating how much you spend per return and how it impacts the overall picture.

After that, you will be able to figure out what changes you can implement to make your return policy in tune with the needs and desires of your customers.

Amazon, for example, creates a fast and easy return procedure for any gift that their customers have received. Users simply need to fill out their request without needing to wait for their refund to appear on the account. This happens almost immediately.

  1. Speed up your returns

Rather than making a bad impression with slow, unresponsive returns, do your utmost to implement a timeline with the fastest rates. Coupled with fast, free shipping, do quick returns to surprise your clients, and don’t make them wait for months to finish a return.

  1. Add social proof

Any positive experience with your returns policy can be used to build customer trust in your brand. You can ask any visitor who already received a refund on your website to leave his or her impressions about the procedure. Put the testimonial on the instructions page for your refund and exchange policy.

Use the examples of eBay, Amazon, and Shopify to improve your return policy

how to build a transparent return policy for your online shop

It is a challenge to create a return policy template that will impress your visitors with flexibility and simplicity. However, if you turn to the example of eBay’s or Amazon’s refund policies, you will notice that they share common values:

  • They are fair and straightforward
  • They protect ordinary users
  • They are quick and flexible

Focus your attention on a good return policy, making sure to phase out any weaknesses that cause you to lag behind.