The closer we get to the holiday season, the more customers will visit your site. This influx of visitors means your business has the potential to increase your sales and customer base. As potential customers browse your website, they’ll investigate your return policy to decide whether or not your products will be the ones under the tree. Creating an easy-to-follow holiday return policy is a way to nudge your customers in the direction of your checkout. We’ve outlined some of the best ways to craft your holiday return policy.
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A return policy is a policy on your store’s website dedicated to how your business handles customer returns. These policies typically include how long customers have to return a product as well as information on how to initiate the return process. A holiday return policy is an updated version of your regular return policy with additional information for holiday shoppers. These additional pieces of information include:
Your and your customers will both be extremely busy during the holiday season, so the more information you can include throughout your site, the better. If your customers can easily find answers to their questions, it’s less likely they’ll have to reach out for clarification. Additionally, our recent study with Retail Economics found 18.3% of customers said that convenient returns were the number one reason they purchased from a business. So, creating a customer-friendly holiday return policy will benefit you and your customers alike.
Now that we’ve given you an idea of what a holiday return policy is, let’s dive into what will take your holiday return policy to the next level. When designing your holiday return policy, don’t read it from the perspective of your business; read it from the perspective of your customers. Pretend you’re a new customer visiting your website. Would you be able to understand the return process? If not, edit your policy to be clear and concise. We more than understand you want your customers to have as much information as possible. But sometimes, it’s better to have shorter paragraphs that are easier for your customers to understand than longer paragraphs that are hard to follow and bury crucial information.
Next, thoroughly check your return policy to confirm everything is accurate. If your business will have an extended return policy, confirm all of the dates mentioned are correct and updated for the current holiday shipping season. The same goes for any shipping deadlines written in your return policy — you don’t want your customers to think they have more or less time to shop because the shipping deadlines are from the year before. Finally, test all of your customer service channels in advance to ensure they run smoothly. Submit any email or contact forms to see if they’re being routed to your email. Also, call your support lines to see if all the numbers are working, so your customers aren’t left hanging during the holidays.
Holiday return policies are also a good opportunity to add information about your business that new customers might not know. Include a little excerpt of your business’s origin story and/or fun facts about your business. You can even mention any nonprofit organizations your customer works with during the holidays or even year-round. While your holiday return policy does need to be easy to navigate, that doesn’t mean it can’t be customized to help your business stands out.
58% of customers say they plan to cut back on non-essential gifts this year. This means your business needs to get customers to choose your store for the gifts they do plan on purchasing. One easy way to help customers is to extend your holiday return window to make returns easier during a stressful time of the year. Your customers might be traveling for the holidays and/or experiencing inclement weather conditions, so they might not be able to return an order within the normal return window. Also, the customer returning the product might not be the same customer who purchased it, so they might not be familiar with your website and need more time. Extending your return window to accommodate customers is a great way to get them to complete their purchases, and it shows your business truly cares.
As we mentioned earlier, the holiday season is a wonderful time of the year, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Creating an excellent customer service experience for your customers can help alleviate some of those holiday stressors. For example, adding an FAQ section to your website prevents customers from having to wait on a response from your business. Some questions you might include in your FAQ section are:
A great customer experience also includes great customer service. Checking all of your customer service lines is a great first step, but you can go above and beyond with a few extra touches. If your business is able, we recommend having a live chat feature for customers who are unable to use phone support and need a more immediate answer to their questions. Also, confirm your phone, chat, and other live support options are turned off when support isn’t available to avoid customers trying to use them when no one is available to help.
Another way to create a better customer experience is to check your site speed. If parts of your website are loading slowly or not at all, your customers can get frustrated and leave your site. Tools like PageSpeed Insights can help you test your site speed and provide recommendations on how to improve it. Again, visit your website from a customer perspective and improve any parts you think might need to be updated. Your customers will thank you.
Prepaid return labels are another great way to improve the customer experience this holiday season. Prepaid return labels are return labels your business purchases and then sends to customers. This way, your customers don’t have to pay for return postage. And, the good news is, you can create prepaid return labels straight from your Stamps.com account! We’ve included detailed directions below on how to create prepaid return labels with Stamps.com Online.
2. Select the order you want to prepare a Return Shipping Label for.
3. Click Return Label. The Return Label window will open.
4. Select Print-at-Home Label, either USPS or UPS, whichever works best for you and your customer.
5. Then select Continue.
6. Choose who will email the label. We suggest having Stamps.com send the Return Shipping Label.
7. Add a note to your customer.
8. We suggest checking the Send me a copy of this email box for your records.
9. Select Send.
That’s all there is to it. Your recipient will receive an email with an easily downloadable prepaid shipping label complete with detailed instructions to ensure an easy return shipment experience.
Note: Your emailed Return Shipping Label is active for 24 hours from the time it is created. If the label is not used, please request a refund within 28 days.
Setting aside the time to create an effective holiday return policy can help increase your sales and set the foundation for a good, year-round return policy. Trying out a new return policy during the holiday shipping season is the true test, so don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. When you sit down to create your holiday return policy, think about what you would look for as a customer. Create a holiday return policy that’s informative and easy to follow. Consider extending your return window into late January for your customers who need extra time to return their orders. Provide your customers with an excellent experience with several options for customer service and an FAQ section, so your customers can look for answers on their own but have the opportunity to reach out if they have additional questions. Most importantly, don’t underestimate the power of a good holiday return policy.
For more insights on this holiday shopping season, download our ebook below.
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