Why We Need to Change Our Thinking on Returns.

I read an article, Here's what Retail Customers Think is Important in a Return Policy, on Squarespace. There are at a minimum two sides to every issue. Let's breakdown some the issues.

I am only going to look at one response from the article. Click the link above to read more.

The top three customer-friendly policies customers are looking for: one, ability to buy online and return to the local store; two, make a return without a receipt; and three, the ability to return any item. So how does a Small Business accommodate these requests?

# 1: Abilty to Return Items Bought Online. If your business has online and physical store, you should be accepting returns to the store. It makes it easier for the client, who is more likely to shop with you again. When the client is in the store you can ask if it was a quiality issue. The most imporatnt factor to accepting online returns in store? You have the ability to exhange the product. More often than not the item did not meet expectations. That doesn't mean the customer doesn't have a need or want for a similar offer. Of course, the key here is have a conversation with the customer. Do not be pushy but try and meet the customer's needs.

#2: Make a Return without a Receipt. There is no reason why in today's digital world you do not offer a digital receipt and keep the information on file. Notice I said offer. In order to have the ability to keep receipts digitally, you do need the customer information and permission. If the customer chooses not to set up the account than your hands are tied. Unless of course your software allows you to bring up receipts by credit card number. You can always reprint and you will have the return transaction in the system.

#3: The Ability to Return Any Item. This one is tricky. I know plenty of business owners who cannot return clearance items. This one I always leave to the discretion of the business owner. It may fall into the category of "gray area" and you need to decide on a case-by-case basis. Personally, the pricing of a clearance item is generally low enough that I just donate it to the local second hand store. That could also be an option for small businesses. Ask your accountant and tax preparer if donations like that are tax deductible. It would create more paperwork, but you could also be doing good in the community.

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