What is your refund policy?
As a business owner, you will not even exist without customers. Everything you do from sales, service, product quality, and presentation needs to revolve around outstanding customer service. Offering a fair, generous refund policy shows potential buyers that you are an honest seller and will stand by your products.
Customers may never even use the refund policy, but you are giving your customers options just in case they don’t like the item for whatever reason. You are empowering them. If you look at large retailers, they will allow returns on any item for just about any reason – no questions asked. Wal-Mart and Macy's didn’t get where they are today by questioning the customer about returns.
This is a scary concept at first, because you are thinking, “Once I have a customer’s money, I want to keep it!” That is understandable. And you may lose a little money in the short run if customers use your refund policy. However, in the long run you’ll reap the benefits because customers will return to buy from you, they will trust you, and they will tell others about you!
I see on-line sellers with return policies like, “store credit only,” or “returns only allowed if item is grossly misrepresented.” As a customer, I don’t buy from sellers with these types of policies. As a customer, I want options. I want to know that if clothing doesn’t fit, I can return it. Or if an item doesn’t match my home décor, I can return it. I don’t want to feel stuck with a purchase that can’t be returned. I don’t want to waste my money on a product that may not work for me once I have it in my hands.
My refund policy in my eBay store allows returns within 30 days, for any product, for any reason. I even offer a refund for my eBooks if the customer isn’t happy. Having a fair, generous refund policy will attract more customers to your store and you will make more sales. Even if a customer returns an item and you issue a refund, that customer will know that you are a seller with integrity and they will return to your store. You can always relist the item and sell it again once it is returned.
I sell about 300 items a month, and less than 2% of the items are ever returned. You know how it is, you intend to return an item but never get around to it, or it sits in your car for 2 months waiting to be taken to the post office, and you forget about it. This happens with my customers all the time – I receive an email that they will be making a return, and the item never arrives. At least you are willing to accept the return and work with the customer, but it is ultimately the customer's responsibility to ship the item back to you. You've done all you can do.
Having a generous refund policy is a powerful marketing tool that any seller can use, and it is totally free. So, rethink your return policy from the customer’s perspective. Eliminate the risk of a customer buying from you – give your customers options. Remember the golden rule, “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Good things will come your way!
Suzanne Wells is an eBay Power Seller, eBay consultant, Author of The Stay-at-Home Mom’s Guide to Successful eBay Selling, and mom of 2.