What’s the ultimate dynamic duo of the ecommerce post-purchase process? The proper fulfillment and return solution for your business, plus customer-friendly store policies. Combined, these two resources help create an ideal experience that builds loyalty and drives repeat purchases.
It’s true: transparency is supremely important for today’s online shoppers. In fact, more than 63% of consumers said they would not make a purchase if they can't find the return policy, for example. That peace of mind guides the sale, and then scalable technology (think: shipping labels, tracking, returns processing) helps earn customers’ trust.
Shoppers want to know exactly what to expect from the start. They don’t want to deal with any last-minute surprises. A comprehensive set of online store policies will address common questions and concerns.
Here are the store policies you need to drive sales.
An online store policy is a set of rules that concisely outlines what customers can expect when making a purchase from you. An online store policy covers how the overall purchase process works and includes the specific protocols you have in place for handling situations that may arise, such as processing refunds and returns.
The purpose of an online store policy is to ensure that both your business and your customers are on the same page and to minimize the potential for misunderstandings. When done well, such policies help customers to feel more confident buying from you, and give you a place to point customers to whenever questions arise. In this way, store policies can help protect your company from disputes by eliminating unnecessary friction.
While every online store policy will be a little different, there are several common areas you may want to cover.
The process for creating a store policy is pretty straightforward. The key to writing a great policy is to keep it as simple as possible, while still addressing key concerns shoppers may have.
At the end of the day, customers should be able to quickly scan through your policy and extract critical information without having to dig too deeply for the answers to their questions. As much as possible, you want to avoid including complicated jargon and overwhelming shoppers with extraneous details.
With returns, for instance, an online store policy should mention the following.
One helpful tip for writing a successful online store policy is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Ask yourself what essential information you’d want to find and structure your policy accordingly.
To better illustrate the nuts and bolts of online store policy creation, let’s take a look at a few real-life examples from successful brands.
Consider this return policy example from Levi’s, which clearly describes:
Levi’s also includes a “Start Your Return” link within its return policy, making it easy for customers who want to act on the information they’ve just read to get started.
In this refund policy example, Lululemon’s ‘Fast Track Refund’ policy allows purchasers of select items to receive a refund for their returned goods via e-gift card in just a few hours.
Fast Track returns are only available to customers who are returning three or fewer items, and are not available for Like New products. However, by making such speedy refunds available to some customers, Lululemon distinguishes itself from brands offering slower repayment terms, giving buyers a compelling reason to shop the store.
In this shipping policy example, apparel and shoe company TOMS provides clear answers to common questions on their shipping policies page, and even takes it a step further. Knowing that customers might arrive on the page looking for help with their orders, the first entry in their shipping FAQ is a search feature that allows customers to enter their tracking number for up-to-date information on their order status.
From there, the company:
The company also explains that TOMS.com doesn’t ship orders to international addresses, but that customers can ship to select countries through their international websites via the included links.
Taken together, these elements help answer any questions shoppers may have about TOMS’ shipping and may help minimize their anxiety to boost conversion rates.
As for the location of your online store policies, most brands place a link to their policy page in the footer of the website. However, this isn’t the only place you should be mentioning your policies. Linking to them in multiple places makes them more visible to visitors and ensures important questions don’t go unanswered.
For instance, of the retailers reviewed in Narvar’s recent Returns Benchmarks Report:
No matter how large or small your company is, you can easily take a page out of these Fortune 50 retailers’ playbooks by adding your store policies to multiple locations on your site.
Ultimately, store policies may seem deceptively simple, but they’re still worth getting right. By investing in customer-friendly store policies, you’ll build the kind of trust that keeps them coming back again and again.