A major goal of an online business owner is to give customers complete confidence in buying from his or her own site. If it is a valid, legitimate business then it is likely that the owner stands behind those items sold. With that being said, why not offer your online customers a money-back guarantee? A guarantee can give potential customers the reassurance that if they make a purchase and don’t get what they want, all is not lost.
To help in creating a guarantee for your online business, answer the following four questions.
1. Will the Guarantee Apply to Each Item Sold?
Before you decide on the type of guarantee to offer, think about each item sold on your site. If you make a general guarantee, it should apply to every item and if not, highlight different stipulations for particular products. For example, consumable goods may have different requirements such as “please provide original packaging”, while services rather than products will have different conditions as well.
2. How Much Time Will the Customer Have to Return the Item?
Money-back guarantees range anywhere from 30 days to a year and in some cases may last an entire lifetime. It’s been said that a longer guarantee will appeal to the procrastinator within and after putting the return off long enough, the customer won’t return the item at all. When determining the length of your own offer, try to give the customer enough time to not feel too pressured and again, take into consideration your particular product line.
3. What Guarantees Do Your Competitors Have?
Look at your competitors and the promises they make. You could devise a better guarantee, which could then be highlighted as a benefit in purchasing from your site.
4. Will Shipping and Setup Fees Be Refunded?
Many online businesses choose to not refund shipping and setup charges, since the business already had to pay for those fees. In some cases, this may be a good idea. However, if the product was of poor quality or defective, it is only fair that you give a total refund to your customer. A good rule of thumb is to always be flexible enough to allow for adjustments to the policy in different scenarios.
Once you have answered these questions, make sure to do the following with your site.
1. Clearly Outline and Support the Refund Process.
If you decide to make a money-back guarantee, stand behind it. Don’t make the process hard for the customer. It is likely they are already disappointed in receiving an item they want to return, so “don’t throw logs on the fire”. Even though they are returning an item, they may still wish to purchase from your site in the future. Making the process difficult could lose future business potential. Keeping it simple will also help to avoid chargebacks to credit card companies.
2. Gather Information About the Return.
Requiring customers to give information as to why they are returning an item is always a good idea for an online business. The information gathered could highlight problems with an item, which may help in preventing future returns. Also, if you have an original product this information can help in making further improvements to that item.
3. Place the Guarantee for All Customers to See.
A guarantee is a positive thing for a business and reassuring to potential customers, so don’t hide it. Let visitors see that you are proud of the items you sale and because of that, you stand behind their quality!
-Stacie Leonard, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting