Policy rules: 5 ways to simplify your return workflow

Shave off the manual work and learn how you can automate your returns.

December 7, 2022

Melisa Wang

In our previous post, we covered why it’s important for brands to automate their returns process. One takeaway is that returns do not have to be a painful process for your team - you can be in full control of the outcome based on your return policies without any manual intervention at all. For example, you might want to set up a rule to automatically charge a return shipping fee for products in your clearance shelf, so that only customers who have bought full priced items can enjoy free returns. Let’s get to our first tip!

Policy Rule #1: Rewarding customers who return for store credit

Customers who are returning are not necessarily looking for a refund but simply more time to pick out the right product. Here’s an option to consider - why not incentivize your customers to return for a store credit by rewarding them with an additional 10% bonus credit. This has become one of our most loved return rules because you now process lesser refunds with more satisfied customers retained and extra to spend when they make their next purchase.

Policy Rule #2: Assigning return shipping fees to customers by return reasons

79% of customers want free returns shipping and there’s no doubt that it’s a great tool to drive a long-term relationship with your customers. However, it does not have to be a one-size-fits-all policy that applies to all your returns. Try building a more fluid policy by segmenting your type of returns or orders so that your bottom line is always protected from potential losses or unwarranted customer behaviours. A common practice is to offer free returns for faulty items but make sure to provide customers the option to easily pay for a return label for change of mind requests.

Policy Rule #3: Disabling auto-approval by return reasons

The time your customer support team spend on processing returns should be kept to a minimum. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that you should leave the app on auto-pilot to make important decisions for your business. To maximize the full potential of the platform, you can have all your return requests automatically approved except for those that requires your discretion. For instance, always reviewing customers’ images for damaged products before giving them go-ahead to return the item.

Policy Rule #4: Defining return methods for discounted orders

There are multiple options when it comes to returns - refunds, store credit, and exchanges. Always offer the option for your customers to return for a store credit and exchange - this is one of the most effective ways to retain your revenue by keeping your customers coming back for the long run. The idea is always to keep your refund rate as low as possible because these type of returns are unlikely to be recovered - these customers would be looking to spend their cash elsewhere. So, why not limit sale items from refunds but always provide the flexibility to return for a store credit or exchange for a new product.

Policy Rule #5: Enabling multiple return windows for different countries

While a blanket 30-day return window can work, it may not be the best experience for your customers. In the case of international orders, deliveries may take up to 5 days or longer depending on your shipping provider. For this very reason, shoppers can be understandably hesitant when it comes to buying abroad. One way to keep your international customers at ease is to offer an extended return window so they have ample time to try out their purchases before deciding if it’s a keeper. For starters, you can consider setting up a 30-day window for local orders and a generous 60-day window for international orders.

There are tons of unique policies that be applied in your customer return journey without adding manual work to your current return workflow. Get in touch with us here and we’d be happy to share more about how we can help you optimize the entire process!

Join the hundreds of brands that are processing their returns with PostCo.