Have you taken the time to set up a returns process for your Shopify store? If you haven’t yet, it’s past time you did! This article will walk you through why you need a returns process and give you app recommendations for your store.
Create a Returns Policy
Before you can setup your returns process, you first need to create a returns policy. Here are different options for your policy:
- Return anything at any time for cash (Nordstroms)
- Return anything at any time for store credit (Macys)
- Full Refund within 90 days (Costco)
- Full Refund within 30 days
Think about your product and consider how perishable it is. Are you selling high end designer dresses? If so you probably can’t afford to create a Nordstrom’s style return policy (even Nordstrom treats dresses differently from its standard return process). Starting with a 30-day policy that you make prominent on your site would be a huge improvement over no policy.
Publish Your Returns Policy on Shopify Store
Once you have decided on your policy you should create a new page on your Shopify store and call it “Returns and Refund Policy.”
Most stores link to this page in their footer, but if you want to go the extra mile, consider adding a banner to your home page to advertise your policy (especially if you are more generous with returns that your competition.
Make sure to cover the following in your Returns and Refunds page:
- Introduction – explain your policy in simple English
- Returns section – explain:
- How a return is processed
- What qualifies for a return
- How much does it cost the customer
- Where do they ship the returns to?
- Refunds section – you should repeat much of the information contained in returns except tailor it to refunds
Treat your Refund and Refunds policy like a well done FAQ section. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customers and think of the different questions they might ask. If you get questions via email that aren’t covered already in your policy, add that information. If you need a returns and refunds template to get your page started, here is an example.
Recommended Shopify Apps
We have reviewed and used many of the Shopify apps and recommend you consider using Return Management System or Return Manager. We use Return Manager (by Bold) on Zing Bars and Return Management System on Seattle Cedar, you will see both company names in the subsequent images.
Order Lookup Page
Both of the apps create a Shopify page with a simple form for customers to submit return requests. We slightly prefer the look of the Bold Return Manager app (the first picture), here they both are:
This page allows customers to enter an email address and order number and get access to all of their previous order with your store. With Return Management System, you need to first click a button to enter your order ID or your email (one extra step).
Return Request Forms
Both apps contain very similar fields for the return request forms: return type, quantity, return reason, customer notes and they both allow you to include an image. In addition, customers can create shipping labels or they can be automatically sent to the customer.
The Bold app (picture above) uses a pop over window, and this can be problematic for mobile devices. Pop ups can be hard to style (sometimes they won’t fit in a screen) but more importantly Google has announced that sites with annoying pop up ads can expect reduced organic traffic.
The Return Management System has all the same fields as the Bold app, except there is the additional option to require customers to accept your store’s Terms and Conditions.
Both Dashboards cover many of the same subjects: creating a return, general settings, return groups (you can create return policies for different collections of products), display settings, language settings and much more.
We really like how you can Returns Manager (pictured above) has created tiles for each of the admin functions in their dashboard.
Return Management System has opted for the top menu navigation bar plus long lists of drop downs. We find that our clients miss features because they are buried under menus and this impacts the usability of the Return Management System.
Important Features Shared Between the 2 Apps
Both of these apps integrate with other 3rd party shipping apps such as Shippo, EasyPost, and ShipStation. This is helpful if you want to set up a custom integration to show shipping rates for returns with carrier calculated shipping or if you want to allow customers to track the status of returns in real time.
As the merchant, you can create a custom time frame (since purchase) for returning products, make sure that any settings in your app are reflected in your published returns policy. You can also specify which products are available for return and which ones are not. As the store owner, you can create custom return reasons such as: broken, poor quality, etc. in your drop down menus for types of returns.
Drive Additional Revenue with a Returns Process
Dealing with returns is something most retailers will tolerate, but creating a fully functioning reverse logistics process will greatly increase your bottom line. The American Marketing Association conducted a study of 26,000 customers over the span of 6 months. These 26,000 customers were tested and divided into control groups: group that received no marketing, group that received traditional marketing and the final group that got full information on the company’s return process and cost. The final group that received the returns process information did significantly more in sales.
Which App Should You Choose?
Both of these apps can help you manage returns for your Shopify Store. The features are very similar between the 2 apps, but our customers and we prefer the look and layout of the Returns Management app by Bold.
About the author: Chad Fisher
Chad Fisher is the owner of BTown Web, a full service design and development agency. BTown web helps small and medium sized businesses get their stores up and running on Shopify and WooCommerce.