My last blog looked at 5 reasons every online beauty brand needs a returns policy. Hopefully it left you inspired and ready to get yours written and published ASAP. If you didn’t see it then click HERE and catch up now.
An easy, clear, seamless returns policy is an essential part of your customer journey and experience. It makes you stand out from the crowd and provides your customers with the confidence to buy while showing them that they are at the center of your business ethos.
A returns policy is a win win for both you and your customer!
Ok, so now your convinced yeh?
It’s time to start drafting you very own, unique on brand version.
Here are my 6 tips to writing the perfect returns policy.
1. Language – Returns policies don’t need to be stuffy and boring. They don’t need to be full of big words and jargon. They do need to be clear, concise, simple and written with the voice of your brand. Be yourself, add your brand uniqueness to it. Here is a fab example from Pai Skincare to help get your creative juices flowing.
This is a great example of how you can delight, please and engage your customers even when dealing with the small print.
2. Visibility – The majority of your customers will check out your returns policy before buying so make sure it is really visible and easily accessible. Nothing puts a customer off more than having to search for information on your website. Be bold and be proud and display your returns policy clearly. Most brands show a link to it at the bottom of their Home Page. Here is an example from Neal’s Yard.
3. Returns/ Changed your mind – All online brands in the UK have to offer a ‘cooling off’ period in which customers can return their goods for any reason. Here is the wording from the www.gov.uk website.
“Online, mail and telephone order customers have the right to cancel their order for a limited time even if the goods aren’t faulty. Sales of this kind are known as ‘distance selling’.
You must offer a refund to customers if they’ve told you within 14 days of receiving their goods that they want to cancel. They have another 14 days to return the goods once they’ve told you.
You must refund the customer within 14 days of receiving the goods back. They don’t have to provide a reason.”
One way of really wowing your customer is to extend this legal requirement and offer your own kind of promise or guarantee. Here is a lovely example from The Library of Fragrance.
Any customer seeing a 30 day money back guarantee will be filled with confidence and as the example suggests this is really helpful in the tricky world of online fragrance and beauty where customers can’t try before they buy. As a little aside I just love the bit about putting ‘I’ve changed my mind’ in the subject box. A great idea to make these emails stand out in your super crowded inbox so you can deal with them quickly.
4. Returns/ damages, faulty items and incorrect items – Make sure your policy includes a section that explains exactly what a customer should do if their order is damaged, faulty or they receive an incorrect item. Provide the customer with a telephone number or email address that they can contact. Let them know how long they can expect to wait for a response and then make sure you set time aside every day to check this email address and deal with queries promptly and within the published lead-time. This is an area where clear guidelines and a quick response from you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. Make the most of it!
Here’s how the iconic brand Aromatherapy Associates handle it.
5. Costs – Be clear whose responsibility the cost of returning items is. If the item is incorrect, damaged or faulty then it is only right that you refund the cost of delivery. If an item is being returned because a customer has changed their mind it really is up to you to decide how you handle it. As you have seen already The Library of Fragrance do not refund this cost to customers while Pai has no problem adding to the WOW Factor of their customer journey by stating they will happily refund that cost. Whatever you decide the KEY is to make sure that your customer understands what they are entitled to.
6. Try and reduce returns in the first place – Most returns happen because a customer has not understood exactly what they are purchasing. Perhaps they wanted a full size product but bought a travel size instead. May be the customer hates lavender and hadn’t realised it was one of the essential oils used in your product. Make your product images and descriptions as detailed as possible. Use video, testimonials, blogs and social media posts to make customers super aware of what your products are like and what they contain. A well informed customer is more likely to buy the correct product for themselves and therefore less likely to need to return it.
Handling returns is an important part of running an online beauty business. Make it an integral part of your customer journey and let it delight customers, providing them with confidence to buy, safe in the knowledge that regardless of what happens to their purchase you will do all you can to ensure their happiness.
As I said earlier WIN WIN!
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