OEC Blog

Return policies are crucial for your online parts business

Return policies are crucial for your online parts business

Do you have a clear and concise return policy on your online eCommerce storefront? If the answer is no, then you may be losing significant business. A study by eMarketer shows that eCommerce sales in the U.S are growing at about 15% each year. This means that every year, a large group of first-time buyers hit the market. First-time buyers are typically wary of online purchases given that they cannot see or physically touch what they are buying. One thing that helps alleviate this wariness? You got it – a clearly written return policy that provides first-time buyers – and all buyers for that matter – with peace of mind.

Customer Service cannot be forgotten

Some people may think that customer service ends at the point of sale. Those who think along those lines are certainly living in the past. Never forget that customers have options. They can shop from you or from anyone else. Some of the key decision-making factors for customers are price, shipping cost, and the post-sale customer service which includes the handling of returns. A survey conducted by comScore shows that more than 60% of respondents view the return policy prior to making an online purchase.

Building an effective return policy

If you don’t have a return policy or don’t have an effective one, here are some things to consider when creating one:

  1. Set Rules – What parts or other items will be covered by your return policy? What items will be excluded? How long does a customer have to return an item? What condition does the item have to be in? Who pays for return shipping? A good idea is to examine your return history (in-store and online) to gain a better understanding of how flexible you can be with the rules you set for your policy.
  2. Placement & Visibility – How easy is it for customers to see your return policy? Are you highlighting the policy and marketing it to new and potential customers? If your return policy is lenient, then be sure to highlight how it should make you a vendor or choice.
  3. Customer Service – Remember that customer service extends beyond the point of sale. If customers have issues with orders, try and accommodate them. A happy customer is more likely to become a repeat customer. Repeat customers are more likely to refer your online store to others.

Become a successful online merchant

Understand your customers and provide them with exceptional service in order to create a loyal customer base. Treat your online customers as well as you would any in-store customers. Don’t be the retailer that fails or loses business opportunities because you didn’t have a clear return policy. Provide your customers with a safety net to ease any of their potential concerns and you’re on the right track to success.

Return policies are certainly important, but only one of the many factors that go into helping you become a successful online merchant. Stay tuned for future posts on other topics that will help you become a better online merchant.