Tips and tricks to deal with holiday returns

Guides| 3 min read
Reading Time: 3 minutes

As fun as it is to send and receive presents, not every gift is the perfect gift unfortunately. What happens when someone receives a gift they don’t like? Some are reluctantly kept, and some are re-gifted, but most are returned. Since the holidays are when the most sales happen, it’s also the time when the most returns happen. Here are some tips that you can implement to stay on top of returns this season.

Put together a holiday-specific return policy

If your business accepts returns, then you probably already have a policy that clearly explains what products are returnable or exchangeable, what condition the products need to be in to be eligible, and how soon the return needs to be made. But you might need to slightly tweak your policy to suit certain holiday-specific situations. For instance, say an early shopper buys a Christmas present in October, but the product they’ve purchased normally has a 30-day return period. If the normal policy applies, then the person who receives the gift won’t have the option to return it. To prevent unhappy customers, you could temporarily extend the return time until after Christmas.

Put your policy where your customers can see it

Now that you’ve modified your return policy to fit the holidays, your customers need to know about it. Try listing your return policy in places you’re sure your customers will look at. If you sell through your website, you could put it on your homepage, product pages, checkout page, and invoices. If you sell through a retail store, you could put it on sign boards, posters, and receipts.

Keep returns separate from your regular sales

While you’re processing returns, you still have to take care of new sales. It’s best not to handle both processes together, because a customer who has visited your store to make a purchase will need to follow a different process from a customer who has come to return a product. To reduce the chances of error, you can assign different employees to handle your sales and returns.

Examine your returned products

Before accepting a returned product, check for damage and make sure that it’s in the same condition that you sold it in. This helps you protect your business from loss by identifying and denying fraudulent returns. However, if the damage occurred before the product reached the customer, then it’s your responsibility to either issue a refund or exchange the product.

Categorize your returned products

It’s helpful to classify your returned products as high quality, mediocre, or no good. The high-quality products can be resold, mediocre products can be sold on clearance, and no-good products can be taken apart for scrap material or thrown away. Once you receive a returned product, categorize it and store it with other products in the same category to keep your inventory organized.

Gather data on your returns

Collect relevant data every time you process a return, like what products were returned and why, so that you can work on reducing such returns the following year.

Make sure you and your employees are on the same page

Once you’ve put together a return policy and a plan for how to tackle returns this year, it’s vital that your employees know what to do so that they can carry out your plan. Educate your employees on how to handle returns and interact with customers to provide a great experience. Try chalking out some rules and guidelines for your employees to refer to when in doubt.

Compare your current policy with last year’s

Even though you prepare yourself for the holidays year after year, you always end up learning something new. Pay attention to which holiday policies are helping and which ones seem to be getting in the way, and use this information to update your return policy for next year so that your return process is even smoother.

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