There are a million and one ways you can boost your sales. Lower prices, offering free shipping, promotions, etc. Chances are you’ve already been using some of these tricks to keep the customer hitting “checkout.”
But there is one aspect of online business that is constantly overlooked. The return policy. How can your return policy boost your sales? It comes down to minimizing risk for your customer.
How Risk Affects Sales
Put yourself in the shoes of a buyer for a moment. Every time you buy something online, you are putting your trust in the retailer. You trust that the seller is trustworthy. You trust that the product will arrive quickly and undamaged. You trust that the product will be worth what you paid for it.
In other words, there is a sense of risk involved for any transaction. Buyers weigh this against their desire for the product, as well as other considerations such as website design and reputation. Every buyer goes through this process, whether consciously or unconsciously. Your job as a seller is to minimize that risk for the buyer, so they are more willing to buy the product. The action you take is different if you sell your own product, versus if you are selling someone else’s’.
Check Your Return Policy If Selling Other People’s Products
Returns are the bane of almost every online store. In 2008, they cost online retailers more than $20 billion. There is however, one thing more expensive than having a return policy. And that is not having one.
Not having a return policy does not cost you in expenses, but in sales. Not to mention complications in the form of customer service issues. If you don’t have one already, simply adding one and visibly telling people that it exists can bring your sales up. This is because it puts your customer at ease when buying, even if they never intend to use the policy, especially new buyers who don’t know what to expect.
Be generous with your return policy, but be sure to make sure it’s comprehensive and allows for manufacturer returns. Also, if you outsource your order fulfillment, top providers will handle the returns process for you. So what about if you’re selling your own product?
Guarantees. Guarantees. Guarantees.
If you’ve ever seen a late night infomercial, you know they almost always give guarantees. Generally, they are full, money-back guarantees. Why? Because they have been proven to increase sales again and again. Once again, when you ask a customer to buy a product, you are asking them to put their trust in you. Instead, put your trust in the customer, and take away any inhibition they might have to buying your product.
Send it to them if they ask for it, and ask them to pay nothing until a trial period ends. Tests have found that the vast majority of people will not try to take your product without paying: they are inherently honest. A good product is its own best salesman.
Of course, the tips mentioned above are not always applicable. If you are selling cars for example, you most likely don’t want to give them out to people who might not be able to pay for them. A return policy that is too broad, especially if you’ve had issues with returns in the past, can be detrimental to a bottom line.
Use your judgment to decide whether or not you can apply one of the above tips, or should. Done properly, it can increase your sales more than you’d think. What does you return policy look like?