Returns cost money.  You’re in business to make money.  Return service might lose customers.  You’re in business to keep customers.  Walking a fine line on returns, most retailers will have a policy that limits the timing of the return.  Why?  First, because if the customer doesn’t like or want what he bought, he will know it within the first two weeks.  A 90-day return policy is generous.  A 30-day return policy is admirable.  A no-return policy is… well…profitable.  Here are some other reasons a strict return/no return policy is important:

  • A policy in general makes it clear to the customer what the options are when purchasing from your company. Policies should be in writing and easily accessible to both the customer and your employees.  They should be concise and simple.
  • No matter how strict or lenient you are, not every customer is your Some will walk away and not buy from you, and others will not mind the policy.  Those who don’t like it will probably complain anyway, again losing valuable time on the part of your employees.
  • You’re in business to make money. If you have a return policy that causes you to take a hit to your bottom line, you’re returning yourself right out of business.  You can’t properly serve the customer if you’re out of business.
  • Large or oversized products are difficult to ship and expensive. Even if the customer pays the return shipping, there are still costs to physically get the products back into inventory.
  • Once a product is sold, the inventory space is taken by something else. Returns mean moving other products around, making sure no product misses its selling window.  Selling seasonal merchandise out of season forces you to mark down the price, thus – you guessed it – losing you money.

Return Policy

  • Customers may balk at a 25 percent restocking fee, but that is about the amount that it will take for the merchant to bring that piece back into the warehouse.
  • If you sell any gently used product, as we do, consider having a strict no return policy. You can’t be responsible for third-generation used product, and it is usually deeply discounted anyway.

Return policies don’t have to be absolute.  Retailers work with customers they want to keep.  The policy is a guideline to help you and your customer be successful from the start and not get to that point of no return.