4 Quick Tips to Master Holiday Returns

Posted by Karen Fitzgerald on September 06, 2017

The busiest time in e-commerce is almost here. Last year online retailers experienced a record-setting holiday season with $91 Billion in online sales. This year total U.S. holiday e-commerce sales are expected to climb by another 16.6% -- and with holiday sales come post-holiday returns.

Here at Returnly, we work with over 500 merchants across apparel, footwear, beauty and more. Taking a look at returns behavior across all our merchants, we saw a significant increase during the holiday months with total online returns tripling in December, increasing by 3.3X followed by a 2.5X jump in January.  [CLICK TO TWEET] 

 Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 7.39.57 PM-263268-edited.png

Experiencing an influx of post-holiday returns is inevitable, but there are steps every retailer can take to prepare. That's why we have pulled together these quick tips to master product returns for your most successful holiday season yet.

1. Extend your Holiday Returns Policy Window

Accommodate holiday shoppers by extending your return policy to a 60 or 90-day eligibility window. By providing a longer length of time to return products, you will help reduce shopper frustration and lower inbound support requests while showing shoppers that your policies are transparent, customer-friendly and fair. Get your updated holiday policy in place as early as possible to make sure your shoppers know exactly what to expect as they start their holiday search.

2. Market Your Return Policy to Prospective Shoppers

A merchants returns policy influences 80% of the online sale. Leverage your holiday returns policy as a competitive advantage and promote it to prospective shoppers. Drive traffic to a dedicated policy page from your website, your emails, at checkout, and so on to help influence shoppers during the decision making process.

3. Simplify Your Policy to Boost Holiday Sales

Offering a customer-friendly return and exchange policy can not only boost holiday sales but leads to repeat business down the road. Shoppers shop more often with a retailer if they offer a lenient, easy-to-understand return policy. Don’t over complicate the language or change policy based on product category or return reason. This can confuse shoppers and create added holiday stress, driving up support inquiries and cutting into spending. 

We also recommend giving your shoppers the option to get store credit at the start of their return. At Returnly, we've seen this significantly boost repurchase rates creating new online revenue. 

4. Leverage Data to Better Predict Returns

Monitor your shopper returns behavior across all your inventory to understand what's being returned and why. Understanding shopper behaviors before, during, and after the holidays will help you better optimize your marketing and merchandising. You can also use this data to help forecast staffing, merchandising, and return trends for the following year. 

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from e-commerce experts in the coming months to help you prepare for the holiday season. In the meantime, if you're looking for additional product return resources, check out two of our top blog posts here:


Topics: Management & Operations, Customer Experience