Returns policies that will win over cross-border shoppers

Ahmed Naiem, Chief Commercial Officer at eShopWorld, talks about importance of returns for Cross-border eCommerce Retailers


In retail returns are that necessary evil that cost you time and money, even if your customer pays for return shipping. Cross-border returns are even more complex and costly. But, like death and taxes, the need for retail customers to return or exchange products is inescapable, no matter where your shoppers reside. In some places, the option to return is even non-negotiable. For instance:

  • In Europe, customers have a 14-day “cooling off” period in which they can return their online purchase for any reason after delivery.
  • In Germany, however, customers expect to be able to return items up to 30 days after delivery, no questions asked.
  • In China, items purchased online can be returned for any reason up to seven days after delivery. Same with Brazil, thanks to the so-called “Right of Regret” regulation.

However, returns aren’t all bad; they can help you improve conversion and grow international sales. Reports such as the 2015 UPS Global Pulse of the Online Shopper confirm that return policies have a clear impact on purchase decisions. In addition, the report found room for improvement in the returns process in every country surveyed. In Asia, for instance, only 36% of online consumers were satisfied with the ease of returning or exchanging items.

Customer-friendly returns policies address a major barrier for international customers. Retailers that make it easier for cross-border shoppers to return or exchange items will convert more shoppers into customers and grow a more loyal customer base.

Ways to make your return policy as customer-friendly as possible

Make returns easy and transparent

Offer a returns policy that is fair and balanced for your shoppers regardless of where they reside and display a link to the returns policy prominently across your site. Ensure that your policy is clear and concise.

Bonus: An easy and transparent returns policy will help win over many “on the fence” international shoppers.

Offer a web-based returns process

Your shoppers, sometimes halfway across the world, do not want to have to call to make a return, adjust for time zones, or worry about how to get a label to return a shipment. One of the best ways to improve their experience is to offer them a web-based returns portal that allows them to print a label and track it all the way through to refund.

Bonus: A branded returns portal also gives you full control and transparency on your entire returns pipeline.

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eShopWorld is a leader in Global eCommerce and Logistics Management, with the only modular solution that gives online retailers control over the end-to-end customer journey – from global checkout to returns.