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If you have an online store but are lacking an ecommerce return policy, there has never been a better time to put one together.

Having a solid return policy inspires confidence in buyers and shows you're committed to customer service. Even though the customer isn't satisfied with the returned purchase, handling the return professionally will ensure their continued patronage.

A comprehensive ecommerce return policy will reduce the time and money you spend on returns, minimize the number of returns, and keep your customers coming back. Here are 9 handy tips on creating a return policy that'll keep your customers satisfied without breaking the bank:

1. All Sales NOT Final

There aren't many successful brick-and-mortar retailers that don't accept returns. Online stores should be no different. You should stand behind your product, and if a customer doesn't like a certain purchase - don't make it difficult for them to return the item. The nature of the product (ie. intimate, clearance, damaged) obviously may determine whether you issue a full-refund, partial, exchange, or perhaps none at all.  

2. Prevent The Return

People return products when they are disappointed with their purchase. Minimize disappointment by creating accurate product descriptions and proper product photography. If the products you're selling have informative descriptions and proper pictures (or even product videos), you'll greatly reduce the number of returns.

3. Use Plain English

Don't go crazy with complicated legal jargon. Using complex terms that can only be deciphered after watching a season of Boston Legal will be confusing to your consumers. Use terms that everyone can understand and it will be easier for customers to follow your policy.

4. Make It Easy To Find

Make sure your policy isn't hidden away. Post your return policy on your website, on customer correspondence, on receipts and even in the package so that customers have every opportunity to review your return policy.

5. No Hidden Return Costs

Nothing is worse than getting hit by hidden costs. Don't hide anything, if it's up to the customer to pay for return shipping - make that very clear. 

6. Time Frame Limitations

It's normal to give a specific time frame to accept returns. You certainly don't want to accept a return a year later, so it's important to define how long the customer has to make up their mind. Tell your customers if they must return the product within 30, 60 or 90 days of purchase. Also, you should have a separate time frame for damaged or malfunctioning products. 

7. Exchange, Credit, Cash?

State whether the customer can expect to exchange the item, get store credit, or enjoy a cash return. Every merchant has their own preference, and you shouldn't feel pressured to offer "full-refund, no questions asked." In the event of a malfunctioning or damaged item, it shouldn't be the customer's responsibility to pay extra for anything. Make every effort to replace the item, or give a full refund without incurring any costs to the customer.

8. Knowledgable Staff

Ensure that all staff members are up to date with your return policy procedures so they can assist customers effectively. 

9. Check The Batteries

Make sure that the customer has assembled the product correctly. If the product requires batteries, ensure that they've been inserted properly. Make sure that the product is correctly installed and turned on before deeming it damaged.