When you work hard to perfect your products, it can be painful to see a return request come into your inbox.
As hard as it can be – return policies are super important when it comes to running your business. If done right, they’ll increase customer trust and loyalty to your brand.
In this article, I’ll walk you through what a return policy is, why you need one, how you should write it, and share a template you can customize.
What Is a Return Policy?
A return policy outlines the terms of any refunds, exchanges, or returns. A strict return policy, like “all sales are final” might deter customers. A more flexible policy like ’30-days for refunds, 60-days for exchanges guaranteed’ might give people the confidence to purchase.
Why Should I Add a Return Policy?
Having a return policy can increase brand trust, loyalty, and credibility. According to UPS, 68% of shoppers check a website’s return and exchange policy before making a purchase.
If you choose to skip having a return policy (or have one but try to hide it) – people are much less likely to purchase from you. It will make you seem like you don’t take pride in your product and don’t care if your customer is satisfied with their experience. Yikes.
In fact, if you have a lousy policy, it’ll start to show up in your reviews. According to Nielson’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 66% of people surveyed trust consumer opinions posted online. A bad return policy could prevent you from growing your business.
Even though you don’t need one, having a great return policy is an easy way to improve your business and help you stand out from your competitors.
The Ultimate Return Policy Checklist ✅
Alright – now that you know how important return policies are – here’s a checklist to make sure your policy is rock solid and easy to understand.
Explain How Your Customer Can Claim a Return, Refund, and/or Exchange
In this section of your policy, you should make the returns process clear. Make it clear which information they should keep if they’d like to get in touch about their purchase.
This might include asking them to keep their order number, the original packaging, and the timeframe requests are accepted (i.e., 30-days guarantee, exchanges within 60 days, etc.)
Note Which Items Can Be Returned and Exchanged, and Which Are Final Sale
When writing your policy, it’s important to consider your inventory and the different types of return policies that apply to each product.
For example, let’s say you sell accessories like earrings and purses. You might decide that earrings are final sale, due to hygienic purposes, whereas purses can be returned or exchanged.
State the Condition the Product Must Be in for Returns to Be Accepted
Depending on the type of product you sell – you might want to set different guidelines for accepting returns. For example, a common policy for clothes is that tags must be still attached. For more delicate items, you might require it to be unopened and still in its original packaging.
Make It Clear Who Pays for Return Shipping
If the customer needs to ship the product back to you to claim a return, make it clear who pays for shipping. Some businesses require the customer to pay, while others may include a prepaid shipping label in the case of returns.
Tell Them How Long It Will Take to Get a Refund
Once you received a return – don’t leave the customer in the dark! Let them know how long it typically takes to process their request, or for money to reappear in their accounts. Communication throughout the returns process is key to keeping your customers happy.
How to Write a Return Policy
Even if you have all of these elements – there are few overarching things to keep in mind.
First, keep your policy customer-centric. Although this policy is meant to protect you, it’s also meant to protect the quality of their experience.
Next, check that your wording is clear. Keep the language short, sweet, and to the point. Avoid throwing in legal jargon and complicated phrasing.
Be sure that your return policy is easy to find. Ensure your customers can easily find the policy throughout their shopping process. Consider adding it to their order confirmation email as well, so they have an easy place to find it again after purchasing.
And finally – have fun with it! Maintain your brand voice. Keep it fun, friendly, and promise that you’ll work to make their problems right.
This might feel like a lot of information, but don’t worry. There are plenty of templates online that you can use as guidance. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have return templates and generators to help you design your perfect policy.
I’ve also included one here! If you use this template as inspiration, be sure to customize it to your brand, products, and voice.
Return Policy Template
Thanks for shopping at [business name].
If you’re not completely satisfied with your purchase, we’re here to help.
You can return your purchase within [number] days from the day you received your order. If you received your purchase more than [number] days ago, we, unfortunately, can’t offer refunds or exchanges anymore.
You’re eligible for a return if your item is unused and in the same condition as you’ve received it. It has to be in its original packaging. We’ll also need proof of purchase or a purchase receipt.
Some types of products can’t be returned. These products include:
[list of products that can’t be returned, like intimates or perishable goods]
Once we received your returned purchase we will inspect it and notify you via e-mail that we’ve received your returned item. We’ll also let you know if your refund is approved or rejected.
If the return is approved, we will issue a refund to the original method of payment. The time it takes for you to receive the credit depends on your credit card issuer’s policies.
Items on Sale
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to offer refunds for sale items.
If your purchase is damaged or if you ordered the wrong size, we can replace the items for you. Please get in touch by sending us an email at [business email] within [number] days after you received your purchase.
Please mail your product to [business return address] to return your purchase.
You will be responsible for the shipping costs to return your products.
We recommend to ship the product via a traceable carrier and to keep the proof of shipment.
Shipping fees are non-refundable. If your refund is approved, the cost of shipping will be deducted from the refund amount.
Shipping your purchase back is easy: Just contact us and we’ll send you a prepaid shipping label. Please note that shipping fees are non-refundable.
If you have any questions regarding returns, exchanges or refunds, please feel free to reach out to us at [business email address].