Don’t miss the boat when it comes to Returns.

In light of my recent OmniChannel blog, today I’m discussing the sweeping demand for free and easy return shipping.  This expectation has been spurred on by the customer service greats of Nordstrom, Zappos.com, Amazon and the like.  Everyone has heard of Nordstrom’s exceptional return policy, and I’m sure most, if not all, of you have heard the rumor about the shopper who received a refund from Nordstrom for a tire, a product Nordstrom has never sold.  The rumor is so prevalent even Snopes.com has investigated it (Read more here).

free shipping, free returns

Whether true or not, this legend is arguably one of the strongest pieces of brand messaging in circulation, promoting the Nordstrom’s brand and their iconic dedication to customer service.  So what exactly is Nordstrom’s return policy?  Here is what they state on their website:

 

What is your return policy?
We don’t actually have a return policy at Nordstrom stores or for purchases made at nordstrom.com. We handle returns on a case by case basis with the ultimate objective of satisfying the customer. We stand behind our goods and services and want customers to be satisfied with them. We’ll always do our best to take care of customers — our philosophy is to deal with them fairly and reasonably; we hope they will be fair and reasonable with us as well. Please visit NordstromRack.comHauteLook and Trunk Club to learn about their return requirements.

 

Why don’t you have a return policy at Nordstrom?
We hope to build trust with our customers and create a relationship with them for the long term. Standing behind what we sell is a big part of that. We think many customers choose to shop with us because they know if their purchase isn’t right, we’ll work to fix it.

http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/return-policy#anchor-link-policy

 Increase Consumer Spending by 357%

What does this have to do with me, you ask?  Well, you tell me.  Do you want to build a relationship with your customers and have them choose to continue to shop with you based on a mutual level of trust?  Of course you do!  The easy, free return policy is no longer exclusive to the Nordstrom’s and Zappos’ of the world.  Not too long ago, it was free shipping that everyone was on the hunt for, but today that has now evolved into free returns as well.  Notice Macy’s ad introducing their new free returns by mail policy, and there’s many more just like it.

There are countless articles on why free return shipping is a must, not just because everyone is now offering it but because the data supports it.  Yes, returns collectively cost companies billions, but offer free-returns and you could see consumer spending jump up 357%.  Say what!?  Researchers used surveys and spending data to track the habits of customers at two leading online retailers over a 49-month period.  While average spending per customer increased by $620 over a 2-year period at one store, it went up by a whopping $2,500 at the other after a free-return policy was instituted (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49379910).  Your customers spending up to an additional 357% is HUGE.  “When asked directly what aspects they would like retailers to improve, 58% of online shoppers chose free or discounted shipping, followed by ease of returns and exchanges” at 42% (http://bit.ly/1IxokB0).

 

Aspects Shoppers Want to See Improved by Retailer
Free/discounted shipping is the #1 aspect shoppers are demanding from retailers

You Need a Shipping Solution

dual seal poly mailer
Dual Peel’n Seal Flat Poly Mailer

Now you’re faced with the question of “How do I provide free and easy returns by mail, all while reducing my associated costs and keeping the planet in mind?” (remember my Sustainable Packaging trend of 2015 blog from last week).  Every product has different shipping requirements, but one option you should consider is PAC’s Dual Peel’n Seal Flat Poly Mailer. 

How does it work?  Your fulfillment team will remove the first release liner and seal the package closed to ship.  The customer receives the package and opens using the perforated tear line.  If the customer is satisfied with their purchase they may recycle the mailer.  If they wish to return the contents, they simply remove the second release liner to reseal the bag and ship it back to you (the retailer).  You’ve effectively offered a package that was either recycled or reused, therefore reducing the amount of packaging necessary and saving you money!  All of our poly products are 100% recyclable and this product in particular hits all 3 R’s (Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle).  I call that a win-win.  Contact PAC today info@pac.com to find out more on how we can help you offer easy returns.