Warehouse manager sorting returned items

How to Prep Your Return Process for the Holidays

With the 2022 holiday shopping season underway, it’s time to make sure your return process (and returns solution) are as prepared as possible for the annual surge in order volume.

Since increased sales always leads to increased returns, the retailers who take the time to prepare now (that's you) by adopting best-in-class return policies will come out ahead in today’s competitive macroeconomic climate.

To help you get the proverbial leg-up on your competition, follow these three steps to update everything from your return policy to the way you communicate with your customers about returns.

#1 - Modernize your return policy

When was the last time you took a close look at your company’s return policy?

If it’s been a while, review it ASAP to ensure it’s capable of supporting the impending increase in holiday return volume. For example, if you’ve promised to issue refunds within 2-3 business days, can you still guarantee that if your return volume increases significantly?

At Narvar, we’re seeing retailers differentiate themselves through segmented return policies that offer VIP-level service to specific customers. If your return policy doesn't offer this level of flexibility, you risk losing business to competitors with more customer-friendly approaches.

If you're a Narvar customer make sure you...

  • Communicate any return eligibility or processing time changes to Narvar. 
  • Update the Narvar Return login page on your site to explain these changes to shoppers. 
  • Update your outbound delivered email to include content related to your new return policy. 
  • Emphasize policy changes on your website—use header banners, bold text, larger font sizes, or other visual call-outs to make sure former customers are aware of  changes to your return policy. 

An additional courtesy...

You should extend to shoppers during the holiday season?—An extended return window. Narvar’s 2022 Returns Benchmarks Report found that a large percentage of Fortune 50, omnichannel, and direct-to-consumer (D2C) retailers are offering return windows that go well-beyond 30 days. 

Because supply chain challenges and shipping delays are still expected to affect this year’s holiday shopping (Narvar predicts at least 20% of online orders will be delayed), temporarily extending your return window may give customers more confidence that they’ll have ample time to receive, test, and ultimately decide whether or not to return their goods to you.

Just be sure to reset your policy after the holiday season if you don’t intend to keep these and other changes long-term.

If you’re a Narvar Return customer...

You’ll be able to set up these temporary rules for your portal to apply only during the holidays and expire automatically—you just need to update the text on your policy page.

#2 - Publicize your policy updates

In addition to taking the steps described above, the following recommendations can help you maximize engagement and positive communications throughout the returns journey: 

  • Use your return confirmation email to add further clarity around estimated return processing and time to refund. 
  • Update your return tracking pages with estimated refund processing times. 
  • Add a "Return in Transit" or "Return Delivered" email to your return sequence to reduce the number of ‘Where is my return?’ (WISMR) calls you receive from customers.

#3 - Increase choice and flexibility for shoppers

Beyond updating your return policy, look for ways to make shoppers’ lives easier this holiday season. Provide them with extra flexibility during the holiday hustle and bustle:

  • Issue QR codes for returns that allow customers to access hassle-free boxless and printerless returns.
  • Allow customers to drop their returns at local drop-off points
  • Include convenient in-store drop-offs as a return method to drive increased post-holiday season footfall in your retail outlets.

One more thing...

Returns processing may seem dry, but there are plenty of ways you can delight customers and drive greater ROI by extending seasonal content into your UI.

If you're a Narvar customer you can...

  • Integrate a seasonal design asset into your Narvar Return landing pages. 
  • Add a seasonal variation of your company’s logo to your website and your Narvar UI. 
  • Introduce a “Gifts” category to your website’s navigation bar (just make sure any holiday-specific return policies you’ve implemented are clearly visible on this page).

This holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a notable one for retailers and consumers alike.

Get ahead of the game now by taking the time to revisit your return policy, updating it to reflect current circumstances, and identifying opportunities to delight your shoppers through holiday-specific content.  

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