How Retailers Can Survive the Return High Season

After getting through a hectic holiday shopping season, most retailers are looking forward to starting out the year at a slower pace. Unfortunately, the onslaught of returns that often comes after the holiday period can put quite a dent in those plans – and your bottom line. Here is some advice for keeping those post-holiday returns from hurting your January revenue.

First of all, you need to be prepared for return season; the month of January is when roughly a quarter of all retail returns take place. Keep in mind that returning products isn’t just unpleasant for you as a retailer; it’s also a hassle for customers and may even cost them money.

With this in mind, find out why customers are returning items. It’s possible it’s a truly unwanted gift, but sometimes people return items because they simply don’t understand how to use them or see how it might benefit them. Some advice or a demonstration could ultimately stop such customers from wanting a refund.

Encourage Exchanges

When it comes to the revenue loss associated with returns, the easiest approach is turning it into an exchange instead. When customers come to your store to request a refund, encourage them to take a look around first in case something catches their eye. Make sure your employees offer top-notch customer service and draw their attention to any promotions and sales. If they’re returning something due to poor fit, for example, help them find the right size or a similar product that may appeal to them.

Finally, keep in mind that returns are a customer service opportunity, with 80 percent of customers saying they won’t buy from a business if returns are a hassle. To harness this competitive advantage opportunity, make sure returns are quick and convenient for customers. Instead of trying to blame the customer for wanting a return, try to find ways to help and offer empathy for the customer’s needs.

Of course, if your business has an online shop, there are other steps you can take to minimize refunds, such as ensuring the right item is shipped, verifying that products are represented accurately in their online descriptions, and taking steps to keep products safe during transit.

By following this advice, you can avert a post-Christmas disaster and hold on to as much of those holiday profits as possible.

This blog post was based off of an article by Shopify. Read the full article here.