Practical Ways to Deal With Product Returns


Most retail businesses can expect strong sales during the holiday season. However, that also means they have to deal with a nonstop stream of returns in the following months. No one is exempt from this phenomenon. According to the National Retail Foundation, around 11 to 13 percent of all holiday purchases will find its way back to stores. That’s nearly $100 billion worth of lost sales.

With that in mind, retail businesses have to prepare for the influx of returns that will happen. Tools such as monitoring software and a reverse logistics service will help you deal with the disposal or reuse of returned products. Here are a few other tips to help you deal with product returns.

  1. Publicize your return policy.

More and more businesses have taken a hardline stance on product returns. Returns are a fact of life for any retail business, but recently, there has been a trend where consumers are shopping with no intent to keep the products they have purchased. To combat this trend, many retail brands have placed a cap on returns. You must understand that this is a drastic solution, one that must only be implemented in extreme cases.

Most businesses benefit from displaying their return policy in high-visibility areas. For instance, you can place a sign at the checkout counter, or print it on the receipt. You can also train your employees to include the return policy in their spiel.

  1. Take advantage of return stipulations.

Customers are entitled to a product return, but that doesn’t mean they have a blanket right to return a product whenever they feel like it. When formulating your return policy, make sure to include stipulations to minimize your losses.

For instance, you can reject items with torn tags or damaged packaging. Damage on the product itself is also a common disqualifying stipulation. You can also indicate on your policy that returns can only be exchanged for store credit.

  1. Track everything.

A vintage cash register, while quaint, won’t cut it in today’s retail environment. You need to invest in a state-of-the-art point of sale system if you want to manage your sales correctly. Your POS should be able to track all your sales, returns, exchanges, and refunds. That way, you have a record of all retail transactions.

Don’t forget to ask for identification for product returns and exchanges. If the purchase was made by credit card, you can trace the original transaction and check its validity. For cash purchases, keeping a customer record allows you to keep track of serial returners.

  1. Never be hostile.

One common mistake retailers make is showing hostility when customers return a product. Product returns are a fact of life in the retail business, and you need to make sure that your customer service remains the same regardless of the type of transaction.

While you can make your policy as restrictive as you want, the returns process must be as easy as possible. As long as the customer meets the conditions, they should be able to return the product with little difficulty.

Don’t get offended when customers return your product. Even the best products will be returned, given the right reasons. Instead, take this opportunity to provide excellent customer service instead and leave a positive impression.