4 Tips for Better Ecommerce Returns and Exchanges

Ecommerce Returns and Exchanges

One of the harsh realities of operating an ecommerce website is that more than 50 percent of products you have sold will either be brought in for an exchange or customers will try to indefinitely return it and get their money back. Your cat may like to crawl into these boxes as they pile up in your office, but this is no laughing matter for your business long term success. 

Wazala is here to help you get ahead of the curve on the topic of returns and exchanges as this will be a very important topic in the future with ecommerce especially with Christmas time rolling around with most of the purchases, exchanges and returns happening around that period. Wazala is here to give you 4 amazing tips on how you can best handle your exchanges and returns so that customers return not only for returns but for purchases too!

  1. Make sure your exchange and return policies are stated clearly

A lot of times when customers make returns, they face statements from the management that make them confused and agitated as it sometimes comes off as something they did not expect. The major reason behind this confusion is either they did not see the ecommerce site’s return policy, or their policy is not clear enough and the customer did not understand what to expect.

One of the best examples of a perfect return policy is Zappos, an online ecommerce retailer. Zappos has an entire page in their website dedicated to clearly stating their exchange and return policy and makes the entire process very easy for their customers. The policy is clearly listed in bullet points and they have even gone to the trouble of making a video of the returning process.


A few special features of their return policy is that they do it free of charge. This aspect is something that everyone should consider but should not implement without keeping the financial aspect in mind. However such an offer will lead to a long term customer relationship whose benefits cannot be measured through numbers.

  1. Include exchange and return instructions and labels with each delivered order

Make the returning process a lot easier by providing your return labels with each delivered order and cutting costs by making it a part of the entire delivery system. Most people prefer this method either way instead of waiting for the merchant to send a set of labels.

  1. Recognize the costs of exchanges and returns

There is an amazing story of how a guitarist ordered a guitar strap from a reputable ecommerce merchant but because of a small error, he received a size smaller than the one he ordered. When he contacted the merchant to know how he could return the strap for his original order, the seller replied that he could keep the strap while a new one would be sent to him immediately.

What we have to learn from this story is the fact that the seller knew the cost he would have to incur to process the entire exchange and return procedure and probably also knew that it would cost less or just as much to send the original guitar strap. Although financially both the processes would cost the same, ideally this will have a lasting effect on the mind of the customer and will have a positive experience which will lead him to return to the merchant for future purchases. This is mainly due to the fact that he had to face almost no inconvenience with the entire procedure and was generally happy as no time or money was wasted.

  1. Treat it as an opportunity for the future

Most ecommerce retailers would dread whenever a customer requests an exchange or a return. However, most should learn from this article and recognize that this is an opportunity to build bridges with their clients. As mentioned before, customers that have a good return or exchange experience will most likely come back to the merchant for their future purchases. Not only that, those who have felt good doing business with that merchant will also make referrals to their friends and family. A single simple line – “If you have a problem, they’ll exchange it” – can be the cornerstone for a long lasting relationship with a new customer. After the exchange or return was made, send them an email asking how their experience was and how you can improve. The tiny details that show you care will all individually add up for a great and successful future.

Do you have any tips or your own stories on exchanges and returns to share? What worked for you in the past? Share with us in the comments.

Image by: Kent Wang