Why You Should Accept Returns on Your Ecommerce Store

Photo courtesy of Ze'ev Barkan on Flickr

When somebody lands on your eCommerce store and puts in their credit card information, it is a sign of trust.  They trust your business, your webpage, and are willing to provide you with some of their most valued information in order to receive a product from you.  Really it’s amazingly flattering.  We have sold many Blind Surprise boxes since launching, and still after every purchase email I receive, I’m sort of surprised that another person trusted our business!

The refunds and returns section of your terms and conditions are no fun to write.  You have to decide if you are willing to take losses on some sales when customers are unsatisfied. At first it’s a bit frightening, because you really don’t know what kind of volume you’re dealing with.  This particular section was extremely difficult with Blind Surprise, due to the nature of the business – shipping out surprise gifts.  There’s such a high chance that people aren’t going to like what they get, despite the fact that we tailor every order to our customers’ interests.

So, we decided that we would not issue refunds if customers were unhappy – it’s just too difficult given the circumstances.  As we started shipping out surprise boxes, we received very few emails from customers with complaints, but when we did, we ended up issuing every single one of them a refund, and let them keep the product anyways.

The fact of the matter is that issuing a return is a hassle on the part of the customer as well and oftentimes customers just don’t want to get around to it.  Additionally, the cost associated with returns, as long as your rate is low and your price tag is low to mid ranged, is so nominal to the business that it’s much better to have somebody leave with a positive experience with the be upset about your service and spread the word.  And if you are selling high ticket items, then you could really hurt your conversion by not offering returns.

We actually had an experience last month where a customer asked for a refund, and in my response, I explained I was sorry, said that we were working hard to grow our list of products we would be using for customers that like ‘technology’ and issued the refund.  The customer ended up replying with a bunch of suggestions for potential vendors, saving me hours of research.

At the end of the day, customer service is key.  People like to feel comfortable in their purchases, and if your company doesn’t offer refunds, people may drag their feet a bit during the purchase decision.  I also think you will be very please to see how low your return rate is.  If my surprise box business has a return rate that is around 0.001%, you should be fine.

Photo courtesy of Ze’ev Barkan on Flickr

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