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Retail 101

How To Handle Holiday Returns Like A Champ

Holiday Returns

We’re almost through the holidays, congrats! While everyone else may be getting ready to curl up by the fire until the New Year, retailers are getting ready for one of the toughest but most potentially profitable weeks of the year: the time between Christmas and New Years. 

Almost two thirds of shoppers will make a holiday return this year, which means that retailers will be bombarded with people wanting to return items who may not have even been aware of their store before receiving a gift from it. 

While dealing with these customers can seem like a stressful and potentially bad time, it can also be a great boost for sales. By planning out ahead of time, having clear rules in place, and turning those holiday returns into exchanges, this week can be fun instead of glum!

1) Take Care Of Yourself

There’s no need to add extra stress to yourself, make sure you’re taking care of your quality of life through this stressful time. Here are some tips that will help you get through returns week like a champ!

  • Get enough sleep beforehand. Make sure your body is rested for this stressful week!
  • Meal prep your lunches or splurge on eating out. Whatever you decide, figure out this detail early on so it’s not stressing you out in the middle of the day!
  • Keep hydrated. Don’t lose energy or a good mood because you’re thirsty. 
  • Remember to take breaks. From both screens and people. No matter how busy you are, intentional breaks are going to make you way more productive in the long run. 
  • Take a deep breath and smile. You’ve got this!

2) Know The Rules And When To Break Them

Before people start coming in, make sure you’re crystal clear on your own store’s policies, what each policy effects in terms of bottom line and customer satisfaction, and how you plan on dealing with unhappy customers. 

You’ll have to decide what’s best for yourself and your store in terms of what policies work and how generous to be. While the customer will certainly think they’re always right, it’s up to you whether or not to offer returns on used and damaged items or offer free shipping for returns. 

You’ll also have to decide when to hold firm, and when to allow exceptions. Especially for online orders, people are seeing more and more scam orders and holiday returns that can result in fraudulent chargebacks if you don’t give people what they want. However, if a customer is being reasonable and was just gifted your product, you may want to consider bending the rules and being more generous than your policies dictate. 

3) Use This Week As An Opportunity To Increase Sales

They may be coming in cranky and wanting to return a gift they didn’t love, but that doesn’t mean that’s how their experience has to end. You know your selection and which items are best sellers. You know what types of people like what types of gifts, and you’re the perfect person to guide these return seeking people into what they should be – loving customers!

Take a moment to think of ways your store could help convince people to exchange instead of return. Here are a few ways to increase the chances of changing these return seekers minds:

  • Offer deals for accepting a return. Have customers get $50 worth of exhange goods for a $40 return, or offer a small free gift for all customers who exchange instead of return. 
  • Line your registers with extra tempting items so people are distracted even if they’re trying to make a beeline for you. 
  • Make deals available in brick and mortar and online returns. 
  • Look at what the person is returning, and based on them not wanting that, make suggestions for what of your inventory they would like. 

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