I’m sure you and your business participated in many of the online holidays starting in November with Thanksgiving sales, Black Friday sales, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Give Back Tuesday and others clear through till the After Christmas Sales. Each event provided an opportunity to provide the perfect gift for customers to purchase.
This part of the fourth quarter is usually when businesses make the most sales and see the most profit. Many getting into the black for the first time during the year.
While the holidays are a time of gifts and celebrations, not all presents are loved by the recipients. Some are ready to line up to return gifts that just didn’t suit the recipient.
If you are one of those people ready to make a return, you are not alone. A 2015 holiday survey showed at least 25 percent of people had gifts to return.
If you are on the other side of the fence and own an online or brick and mortar store, get prepared to deal with returns.
While most retail establishments allow for at least 30 days after Christmas to make returns, the majority of returns are handled within the first 2 weeks after the holidays.
There are so many returns, they have created another online holiday; National Returns Day – celebrated today, January 5, 2017.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) predicts that shoppers will return 1.3 million packages. That is a lot of returns! I wonder how many the other shippers FedEx and USPS will ship as well?
With so many returns, you should probably ask yourself some questions about your business.
If you sell online how easy is your return policy to read?
Is it prominently located on your website or is it hidden?
Do you make it easy or hard for someone to return their purchase?
How many times have you tried to return something and it was an easy process? Remember the positive feeling you had for that merchant? Did you share your positive experience with others? I bet you did. I know I tell others when I have a good experience.
Now think of a time you wanted to return something and the experience was hard and difficult. How did you feel about that merchant? Are you still shopping with them? Did you tell others about your negative experience? Most people tell others more often when they have had a negative experience than when the experience is positive. One person’s complaint can travel around the world on social media.
I know for me I went to return something at Costco and the customer service person was very pleasant. She scanned the item and asked me if I wanted the money on Costco Cash card. Now, she could have given me cash but giving me a Costco Cash card lets me go back into the store and spend the money with Costco.
With the use of social media, a good return experience and you get good press. A bad experience shared on social media and it could go viral.
Check out this video about United Airlines that broke a band member’s guitar. The singer made a music video about it. It currently has 17 million plus views. Granted it isn’t about a product return, butit certainly points out how social media can get news out about a complaint.
So how is your business going to handle National Return Day – January 5th?
Make it a positive experience day for your customers and they will thank you by continuing to do business with you in 2017.
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