Holiday CX: Returns, Crucial and Conclusive

Holiday CX: Returns, Crucial and Conclusive

The last thing retailers should do is make gift recipients feel guilty for making a return, according to experts.

The holiday season brings a surge in both gift-giving and returns. With 13% of online orders returned in November and December 2022 and a predicted 28% increase this year, retailers must make the return process a seamless experience.

A good returns policy fosters loyalty and avoids frustrating customers 

Steve Rop, COO of GoTRG, emphasizes building a brand through a frictionless process, regardless of whether the return happens. Studies show customers pay more for flexible policies, but retailers need to be prepared for the increased volume this entails. Mehmet Altug of George Mason University warns against restrictive policies, which can deter brand trust and discourage gift purchases.

One strategy is encouraging Buy Online, Return In-Store (BORIS)

Over 40% of retailers observe rising BORIS traffic, and half plan to promote it during the holidays. This presents an opportunity to showcase customer service and potentially upsell customers when they visit the store. Rop advises equipping in-store staff with product knowledge to offer alternative items during returns. Convenience can still be maintained through curbside return options or allowing pickup of online orders during the return visit.

Other ways to boost convenience include allowing post office returns or waiving receipts 

However, not all returns need to involve physical products. Rop advocates for “keep it” policies, where customers can keep low-cost items. This builds loyalty and avoids the hassle for both parties. GoTRG reports that 60% of retailers offer “keep it” options for select items, often under $20.

Leniency in holiday return windows is key 

Gift purchases might happen early, so strict deadlines in January can alienate customers. Rop argues for generous windows to avoid pushing consumers away. Altug warns against changing policies during peak periods, as this can damage brand reputation and trust.

In conclusion, holiday returns can be a win-win scenario with the right approach. Retailers can turn potential frustration into brand loyalty and repeat business by prioritizing convenience, building trust, and showcasing excellent customer service.