Allowing your shoppers to return for free the products they bought builds trust with them. It lowers their fear of making the wrong purchase, as they know that they can easily return them if needed, at no cost.
People starting out often think that a strict and challenging returns policy will discourage returns. However, it is a barrier to conversions.
Add a mention in your header or footer, and possibly on your product pages.
I also recommend giving them enough time to actually try the product. For example, last year I bought a microphone on Best Buy’s online store, the Blue Yeti. It took me a couple of weeks just to get the time to opening the box and setting it up. When I turned it on, I found out that it was a dud. I was in touch with their support to try and make it work properly, in vain. I finally had to return it, over 3 weeks in. Thankfully, their guarantee was for 30 days. I returned it in store as it was more convenient for me. It was quite disappointing to get a dud because I was excited to have a Blue Yeti, but I was relieved to be able to return it easily.
Sales page for open items
If the product is returned undamaged, you may set up a sales page with your ‘open box’ items at a discount.
And some additional thoughts from a member of my Ecom Convert group:
MIT did a study it showed that people who return often, on average had more than four times the lifetime customer value net of returns. It depends on what you sell but it’s really common for clothing vendors to see up to a third come back. That sounds disheartening, but it makes sense because people don’t know if they like it until they see it on. This is one of the challenges of e-commerce is finding the sweet spot where you gain more than you lose. In most cases a generous policy is beneficial.
Data showed that most returns happen within 23 days..so a ‘first’ test could be extending from 30 days to 60 days, or paying return shipping. The goal is to LOOK friendlier than your competitors.
And never, ever have a policy that states you only accept free returns (as in you pay shipping) if the items is defective. If you do this, people WILL damage to get their money back. This happens on ebay all the time if you label something no returns. Ebay will force the seller to take a return on a defective item, so the customer makes sure it’s defective. Then you have to issue a refund and can’t resell the damaged product. If you do sell something where return shipping is insanely high, offer to take it back for free only for direct exchange. That kills the incentive to damage it for a refund.