In ecommerce sales, a healthy return rate is par for the course. No matter how much your customers may love your products, not every product will work for every customer. Maybe the style or fit is off, or maybe they just had second thoughts. The average ecommerce rate hovers around 30%, and customers go into an ecommerce purchase knowing that a return is a distinct possibility.
So in order to provide a stellar customer experience through every phase of the customer journey, it’s important to factor in the return process too. And that starts by developing a return policy page that clearly lays out what your customers should expect from your brand if they want to process a return or exchange.
When it comes to building a modern return policy page, you may find yourself wanting to get a peek behind the curtain to see what the best in ecommerce are doing. Well, you’re in luck!
We’re going to break down exactly what goes into a top-notch return policy page, then spotlight five return policy page examples from brands that are doing it right.
Your return policy page: establishing the basics
Today’s shoppers prioritize easy returns as a key consideration when they’re deciding where to purchase their ecommerce products. They want to know that they’ll have a hassle-free experience sending a product back for a refund or exchange if the item isn’t quite what they were looking for. And 62% of shoppers today participate in “bracketing,” where they’ll purchase several similar products knowing that they’ll send at least a couple of the options back.
This “returns culture” is here to stay, and merchants can win over loyal new customers by responding positively to their expectations and building worry-free returns policies.
Before making a purchase, 67% of shoppers check a return policy to make sure it fits their needs. This means customers are actively looking for your return policy page and will be frustrated if they can’t easily find it.
Follow these industry best practices when building your returns policy.
Don’t send customers straight to your return process.
One of the most common mistakes we see is having the return link in the footer lead straight into your return process.
Why is this a problem? When your customers are considering a return, they want to understand your policy before they jump straight into the process. But if you lead them directly to your return portal, they’ll have to go back and search for your return policy on the website. This creates a frustrating, clunky experience for your customers.
Avoid the wall of text.
Your return policy page is where your customers go for answers. They don’t want to end up more confused after reading your policy than when they started.
Unfortunately, some brands think that creating a dense, clunky policy will deter customers from making returns or committing return fraud.
Instead, it will just discourage them from purchasing products from your brand in the first place.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes: if you saw a return policy that was a wall of text and legalese, would you feel comfortable purchasing from them? Would you trust that brand has your best interests in mind? Probably not.
Make sure to use clear and simple language, laying out your returns policy in easy-to-read bullet points or short paragraphs that your reader can easily digest.
Don’t bury your return policy page link.
Another common mistake we see is nesting a return policy deep into the FAQs page or Terms Of Service page. By doing this, you’re forcing your customers to go on an expedition to find basic return information, leading to a frustrating customer experience. Your return policy needs to live on its own page and be easy for customers to access. This will also help customers easily find it when they search Google for “[your brand] return policy.”
You can also make the return policy page easier to find by linking to it through your website banners, product pages, social media advertisements, and email marketing.
Questions your return policy page must answer
- What will it cost me? Will your customers need to pay for shipping and restocking if they need to make a return? In some cases, this may make the purchase a no-go: 90% of customers value free returns when making a purchase.
- How long do I have to send an item back? Most stores set their return window to a default of 30 days. However, consider being more generous. Our research found that even with a 30-day policy, 80% of customers will return their items within the first 14 days. That means you might consider extending your time frame to three months, or even a year, and will still see the majority of returns come in during the first two weeks.
- Is there anything I can’t return? Make sure to disclose whether certain categories of items or discounted sale items are ineligible for returns. It’s also important to make note of what condition an item must be in to be eligible for a return: Can a clothing item be returned if the tags have been cut off or only if it’s in like-new condition? When setting your conditions, it may make better business sense to err on the side of generosity; 39% of survey respondents said a policy that’s too strict on what can’t be returned is likely to deter them from making a purchase in the first place.
- Where do I start? Customers need a simple path for initiating a return. The easiest way to communicate this is by having a clear and strong CTA baked into your page, with a large icon to show them where to get started processing a return or exchange or multiple buttons based on which path they’re pursuing. For instance, customers could choose between “start a return” or “request an exchange,” and go directly into the workflow on the next screen for either choice.
- How long will it take? Will a customer receive their refund as soon as the item is dropped off at the shipping location or not until it’s scanned in at the warehouse? Make sure they have a clear timeframe for when they’ll receive their refund or exchange to set their minds at ease.
5 return policy pages you should copy
Next, let’s look at what you can learn from some of our favorite return policy examples from a variety of ecommerce brands, both large and small. All of these companies have clear, transparent return policy pages that are designed to set their customers’ minds at ease.
This ecommerce brand specializes in luxe, but affordable, bedding, and other home essentials. Its return policy page is easy to find, as it’s clearly linked in the footer text and visible on every product page. It spells out details of the policy in a straightforward paragraph and includes footer CTA boxes that link through to actions based on different customer needs: exchanges, returns, quality guarantee, and international returns or exchange
This ecommerce brand focuses on intimate apparel and swimwear. It offers a clear-cut return policy page that can be summarized within two paragraphs, laying out its conditions for accepting items for refund or exchange. It provides clear CTAs based on customer needs, such as “I want a different size or color,” “I want a different style,” or “I want a refund.” Customers can also click on the “start an exchange” button to get started with an exchange or send an email to customer support if more context is required.
3. Walkee Paws
Walkee Paws’ ecommerce site focuses on boot leggings, leashes, and other products for dogs. The brand’s returns page matches its voice throughout the site and incorporates visual appeal with plenty of cute dog photos. Importantly, because the brand offers a unique product (boot leggings), the page starts out with options to help customers make the most of the product, including a how-to-fit video, and customer support email and phone options, to ensure that they’ve taken the time to understand how the product works before considering a return. From there, Walkee Paws offers options for returns and exchanges, and clearly answers all five of the common questions that customers have.
Sozy, a “soft and cozy” apparel company for women, has a return policy page as comfortable as its clothing. The design is intuitive, with a clear CTA to start a return or exchange and a more detailed, but easy-to-read, return and exchange policy description listed below it. It follows industry best practices in linking directly to a returns form.
The shoe company Allbirds’ return policy page ishighly visible.Allbirds’ return policy page is easy to find on the website and also used in their marketing efforts. Allbirds promotes the fact that they will take back any shoe returns within a 30-day period—even if you’ve worn them out in the wild. That can help win over customers who may be unsure about committing to a new shoe brand before having the chance to break them. The page also provides comprehensive information, covering all five questions and additional ones like ‘what happens to my returned shoes?’ that align with its brand but don’t add burden to customers reading the page.
When developing your own return policy page, draw from these brands for inspiration while bringing your own style to the process. Incorporate your own brand voice and visual elements to make sure the page feels familiar to your customers and gives them the confidence they need to shop with your brand, and provide clear links for next steps to complete a return or exchange.
You don’t need to be a big brand to develop a return policy page that your customers will connect with. Just focus on building an empathetic experience for your customers that answers the five common questions that they’ll have about processing a return or exchange.
By developing a clear and readable return policy page that ensures your customers know exactly what to expect if an item doesn’t work for them, you can build confidence in your customer service process that will lead to higher-value purchases and more repeat purchases from your customer base.
Want some help getting started creating an awesome returns policy that keeps your customers coming back? Get in touch with our team.