Handling Returns and Refunds
Handling Returns and Refunds (RMAs)
According to ComScore's most recent survey, 67% of shoppers review a retailer's return policy before making a purchase. Clearly displaying your returns and refunds policy along with the process will do wonders for your conversion rate, customer satisfaction, return rate, and even boost your store’s revenue.
Items to Consider When Creating A Returns Policy
At a minimum, your policy should answer:
1. Under what conditions can an item be returned?
It’s entirely up to you and what works for your specific business as to what qualifies as a return, exchange or store credit. Although you’re welcome to keep things general on your website and evaluate each return request as they come in, it’s helpful to specify any specific criteria you may have. For instance, many online clothing stores won't accept the customer choosing the wrong size as an acceptable return criteria, and will require the buyer be responsible for shipping costs if they still wish to return it.
You can define what conditions a customer can pick from as their reason for returning the item in your Return Settings.
2. How long after the item is received can it be returned?
Having statute of limitations is a great idea. Many online merchants typically use a 30 to 90 day window to allow for returns, but as always every business is unique, so have a return window that is feasible for you and appropriate for your products and customers.
3. What are the possible reasons for a return request?
You could have reasons such as:
- Received Wrong Product
- Ordered Wrong Product
- Not Satisfied with Product
- There is a Problem with the Product
4. What are the possible outcomes of the return request?
Some resolutions could include:
- Received wrong product
- Ordered wrong product
- Product doesn’t work or is defective
- Product is of poor quality
Creating a Shipping and Returns Policy
Shoppers want to know they're purchasing from a legitimate business that stands by its products. Even if you decide that you do not want to offer returns, refunds or exchanges under any circumstances, you’ll still want to clearly communicate this policy to your customers before they commit to purchase.
Returns and Refunds Workflow
Your built-in returns system settings can be customized and edited to match your unique business type — decide when you and your customer are alerted, and if they should receive notification of return status updates.
1. Starting the returns process: Your customers initiate the return process by accessing their past order from their “My Account” area. They will be asked to select which items in the order are to be sent, the reason for the return, their desired outcome (exchange, repair, refund), and any additional comments they may want to include.
2. Return mail notification: Next, depending on your returns settings, you'll receive an email notification alerting you to the customer’s request. These requests will be are delivered to the email address defined in your Store Profile Settings.
3. Fulfilling the return request: Fulfilling the request will differ based on how you run your business. If the reason for the return is the responsibility of the the seller, like you accidentally sent the wrong product, or the product was defective out of the box, then you're on the hook for the lost money on shipping.
Industry best practice in these instances is to own and apologize for the error and do one of two things:
- Mail them return packing materials, including a return label that you’ve already paid for and printed.
- Generate a return shipping label and email it to them (in the form of a PDF, generally) and have them print the label and send the product back to you.
4. Refunding the order: If you've decided to refund the order, whether partially or in full, depending on your payment gateway, this can be done right from the control panel. If the transaction for the order is settled/captured, then there will be a new order action for Refund in the order’s dropdown menu.
To see if your gateway supports refunding natively from our control panel, see our knowledge base article on Processing Refunds.
5. Notifying customers of refund: So long as you have enabled the refund email notification in Checkout Settings, when you set the order status to “Refund” you will automatically update the customer.
It can take up to 24 hours after a transaction has occurred until it has settled. Transactions younger than that may not yet be refundable.