BBB Business Advice for Tackling Holiday Gift Returns

December 12, 2011

While most retailers love the holidays and the increased sales of the last quarter of each year, no one looks forward to the dreaded post-holiday gift returns. BBB is advising businesses to make sure that their return policies are simple and solid before tackling customer gift returns this holiday season.

Most consumers are happy with return policies. According to the National Retail Federation’s, 2010 Holiday Returns Survey, nearly nine out of 10 Americans (88.4 percent) say they find stores’ return policies to be fair.

It’s important for retailers to keep their customers in mind when it comes to their return policy.  “While it’s important that your return policy doesn’t hurt your business, it’s critical that it doesn’t completely discourage and penalize the customer,” said Katherine Hutt, BBB spokesperson.”

BBB recommends that businesses consider the following when creating, solidifying or simplifying their return policy:

Make sure the customer is aware of your policy. Display you policies at the checkout counter and on your website. 

Provide gift receipts. Six out of ten shoppers say they include a gift receipt when giving a gift, so be sure to offer one at the time of purchase.

Encourage customers to return the merchandise unused, unworn or unwrapped. Everyone likes getting merchandise in its original package and by encouraging customers to return goods this way, you better your chances that the product can be resold.

Make online returns easy. Lay out the return rules clearly. Explain who pays for the return shipping, where the customer sends the return, and any forms or mailing labels you want them to use.

Stay calm and helpful. The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone and making returns is usually not high on the customer’s list of fun things to do. When working with a customer, always go into a return with a smile. If their experience is good, you may win over a new customer.

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