E-Commerce Return Policy 101: How To Write It the Right Way

There are 80% of the population on a global level have access to internet shopping.  Also, the numbers are the fastest growing, and more people across the world are connecting. 

Well, Ecommerce is a trillion-dollar business. With every year, the market is expanding and trying new reaches to gather more buyers from different countries.

For an eCommerce business, it’s important to have better services to keep customer loyalty toward them. 

Handling a situation like returning a product can be those moments when you can either get satisfied and happy customers or angry and frustrated that you are never going to come back.

tips on ecommerce store policy

And here is how a strong return policy is needed for an eCommerce store. So, you don’t have to deal with such situations in the wrong way. 

Also, to know more, here is everything you might need. 

Why E-commerce Needs a Strong Return Policy?

Since the market is going to expand more than this, lots of competition is going to boost as well. 

In order to survive and be successfully established, online stores need to be more active and approachable to their customers. 

They need to focus on providing more convenient shopping exercises. And it doesn’t limit to providing easy logistics, discounts, time-saving, etc. 

Image Source: Shipbob

Customers also prefer online shopping due to the easy-to-return policy. They can simply return their product if they are not satisfied. 

Here is what a correct return policy looks like- 

  • People will buy more from you even though they have a return product option.
  • The return policy will become a marketing tool for the business.
  • More people will be willing to spend more to buy the product. 
  • You will get more customers to your store after returning the product. 

According to NRF, a customer who shops online is three times more prevalent to return their prudent to online retailers.

reasons ecommerce customer return products

72% of shoppers return 10 % or less than that after purchasing it online.

In 2016, 65% of shoppers were satisfied with returning or exchanging products online. The number percentage was slightly different from the stats in 2015, which was only 62%. 

The slightest difference in customer satisfaction shows that there is a huge gap which causes doubt about shopping from the same shop or not. 

Having a strong return policy can provide a much more convenient experience that can boost sales in the future. Customers prefer stores where they have the assurance of easy returns. 

elements strong return policy

According to the research, 92% of shoppers agree to shop again from the store if they receive an easy and simple return policy.  

Not just it leads to better customer satisfaction, but it also builds a loyal consumer for better sales.

Tips For Writing Your Ecommerce Store Return Policy 

The return policy is important, and it should be extremely detailed. When you are writing the eCommerce store return policy. It’s important to have basic elements added. 

Along with that, when you are writing the eCommerce store return policy, you can consider all the important and required aspects.

points keep ecommerce store policy better

To improve your eCommerce store policy, hers are a few tips to consider 

1. Decide The Accepting Return Conditions 

First, decide the accepting returns conditions. You need to be clear about the condition of the product that can be received for return.

For example, if the product is in prime condition without any issues, it can be easily accepted without any extra paper needed.

Image Source: Practical Ecommerce

 But in a situation when the product is damaged or defective, the customers have to show evidence that can assure that they didn’t misuse it. 

The support team should have the guideless listed before they accept the returns. Also, it will help determine if the product was defective after it was out of the box or already broken. 

Accepting defective products should have explicitly defined conditions as well. It’s different from accepting a product that is either used or broken. 

Make sure you have clear ideas about this, so your customer won’t take any advantage of the loopholes. 

2. Set A Timeframe For the Return

Every sold product has its warranty and guarantee period. 

The same goes for the return policy. Make sure to highlight the data extremely clearly so it won’t cause any confusion to your customers.

The standard period for returning the product can be 15 to 30 days. However, lots of businesses are generous as they have a timeframe set for 90 days. 

Image Source: TermsFeed

Fixing a timeframe can keep your business safe too. Letting your customer return the product anytime can cause loss to the business, and people can take advantage of this. 

Lots of cases have examples where customers have sent their product back after months or even years.  It causes a considerable loss but also disturbs the logistics department. 

Also, make sure to disclose the timeframe to your customers. Don’t let them abuse your return policy. 

3. List The Requirements For the Return

 Mentions the requirements that are important for returning the product. 

Get those points on the list and ship with the parcel. Make sure to ask your customer to return the parcel with the proper package and the needed papers. 

Mention keeping the original copy in case of returning the package. Ask the customers to provide the original number of orders. 

Besides, they also need to mention the shopping address and authorization details and check other details requested by the company. 

4. Both or Optional In Direct Refund Or Credit

When the product is accepted for return, the next important thing is to know how you will pay for it. Are you going to do the refund or going to give in-store credits?

Plenty of online businesses don’t offer full refunds; instead, they give in-store credits. Not only can it make your customer feel off about this, but it also affects your credibility badly. 

The best way to decide what to choose is to look for the competitors. Consider what they are offering to their customers. Also, make sure to focus on the niche you work in and what will work better for you. 

However, the ideal solution here is to choose both. You can offer store credits for some specific products, but also make sure to be descriptive about the conditions. 

Your customers should know under which circumstances they will get the credit. 

5. Keep The Language Easy 

Understanding is important; you don’t want to write difficult guidelines that no one can get. 

Your audience can be anyone, so it’s important for you to take care of your store return policy language. It should be clear, easy, and simple to understand, no matter who is reading it. 

Avoid making your return policy difficult or complicated. It will not just confuse your customer but also cause a lack of understanding that can make further processes difficult. 

Image Source: TermsFeed

When you are writing the eCommerce return policy, the golden rule of thumb says that you should write like you are talking directly to your customers. 

Use the first person and keep the documents updated to make them more relatable. Also, make it clear about categories and who is for what.

Never use legal jargons that don’t make your people confused. 

Especially for those who are not related to this, dealing with difficult terms can be frustrating and cause lots of confusion in the future. 

6. Keep The Return Policy Updated 

Writing a long and messy return policy that no one wants to read, well, it kills the main purpose of writing the store return policy. 

Instead of doing messy writing, make sure to avoid any kind of clutters. Keep things on point, short, and clear. 

Focus on keeping your return policy simple to follow. Also, make sure to update it in case you have changed it recently. 

Do not let your customer read the old policy and deal with the whole confusion later.  Also, highlight the changes that happened, so the customers can easily get the updated version. 

7. Disclose The Fees Clearly 

The customer needs to know that returning the product is not going to be free. If that’s what you are going for, make sure that you are clear about this in your documents. 

Image Source: FreePrivacyPolicy

Mention all the details and relevant fees that they have to pay. Mention those costs that the company is going to be responsible for so the customers know what you are going to deal with. 

People hate it when they have to pay for things that are not mentioned. It makes your business look untrusty, and people will not make purchases in the future.

Make sure to be transparent about all the costs that are going to happen. 

8. Attach FAQ Page For Returns 

When customers decide to return their product,  they have tons of questions that they want to ask. These questions can be related to certain policies or maybe about the process. 

Well, sometimes, the question can be pretty basic, and for such questions, the support team has to keep repeating them. Not just it causes time to waste, but it also creates a burden. 

You can add the FAQ page to help answer your customer’s basic questions.  

With this, the basic questions will be answered, and your customers will know what they are dealing with. 

After this, if they have more questions, ensure your support team is ready to help them. 

9. Promote The Return Policy 

You can promote your policy to make sure that your customer read about it. Making a separate page about this is a good option, and you should have it. 

But lots of time, people spend hours to find where they can find the written policy about the returning product. 

To make sure that it’s easy to find, promote your policy on various pages of the website. Get a visible link that can directly land your customers on the policy page.

Also, your customers should know about the process of refunds. Make sure to add the links on the payment and checkout pages. 

Add a separate link on your home page too.  

10. Offer The Free Shipping 

According to Invesp, more than 49% of eCommerce retailers offer free shipping to their customers. 

You can offer free return shipping as well. It’s one of the marketing tools that can help in reducing pre-purchase anxiety. 

For the customers, returning the product is already a hassle. On top of that, paying the shipping price will also fuel their frustration.

With free return shipping, you can assure your customer that they don’t have to deal with extra hassle during the whole process. 

11. Use Videos To Keep It Attractive 

For people who shop online, no matter what happens and how many times they do it. Still, there are lots of people who feel a little anxious when it comes to returning the parcel.

Image Source: PrimaSeller

Dealing with the return policy and the whole process can be tiring.  On top of that, reading the whole list of things can be a real hassle. 

Adding a video is better to keep the process easy for you. Make guidelines videos so they can understand easier and faster too. 

12. Name Your Policy Entertaining  

Return policy can be boring, and the process is not thrilling. 

To make it interesting and fun for your customer, you can name it something like Vuori did. They name their return policy as Investment In Happiness. 

Not just will it highlight your policy to your competition, but it will also make your customers excited too. 

Examples Of Best Return Policy For Ecommerce Stores 

Undoubtedly, for any eCommerce, the return policy is the most important part to understand. 

But there is no limitation on being not a little crafty about it. How you communicate with your customers through your policy can help keep the process hassle-free for both parties. 

Since lots of retailers don’t put thought into the policies.

There are lots of good examples who made their policies interesting but informative and positive too.


Image Source: REAuthority

Ikea has stood out with its return of the policy. 

Instead of offering the standard time period as most eCommerce did.  They have 365 days for their return policy.

 Not just it gives much more relaxation to the buyers, but unlike the competitors who offer 30 to 60 days, Ikea stands out here. 

Also, their language is pretty simple, and they have lots of references made to love to get more points. It shows that they care about their customers, and it’s clear for the buyers that it is easy too. 

Takeaway: In eCommerce, standing out is important. Just like Ikea did with their 365 days window for returning the product is huge. 

People who have anxiety before purchasing or those who are nervous about purchasing from the new brand. This can help them calm down and trust more. 


Image Source: Casper

The return policy is not always easy. Many products require lots of thinking as it might be difficult to do a return. 

For example, products like mattresses might be hard to ship. The buyers prefer to choose brick-and-mortar instead of choosing online options for this.

To eliminate this, Casper is offering a 100-night trial. With this, they are more open to trying and deciding if they want to continue or not. 

Also, it’s better to make final decisions to understand if the product is right or not for them. 

Casper does the good deed as well. The returned bed gets donated to charity. By this, the customers don’t have to feel bad either. 

Takeaway: Understanding the basic issues are important for the business. Getting what bothers your customer and taking it out for them can help them. 

Casper understood the issues that most customers face. To solve it, they offered the 100-night trial in their return policy. 

And also, to keep their customer happy along with doing good for society, they make local charity donations.


Image Source: Shipstation

Similar to Ikea, Zappos also offers 365 days for their customers to return the items.

But to do better, they added this feature to their Zappos VIP program. With this, they get Rapid Refunds. 

With this feature, the customer gets the funds much faster than anyone. However, they just have to wait for UPS scans. 

It gives special and loyal treatment to its VIP customers. Also, it improves the experience and boosts engagement in their VIP program. 

Fetch Eyewear 

Image Source: Fetch Eyewear

When it comes to generous policies, fetch eyewear does it on a whole different level. 

Fetch Eyewear provides a lifetime warranty on its products. Well, it doesn’t need a return policy; instead, it gives cover to why people like to purchase their product. 

With the lifetime warranty it also assures the quality of the product. 

Mistakes To Avoid In Writing Your Ecommerce Return Policy 

Return policy for any e-commerce is important. Not paying attention here can cause you a huge loss in customers. 

Also, if there are any kind of loopholes, your customers can end up misusing it for their own benefit. 

For owners, it’s crucial to focus on their return policy, but you should never make some basic yet hard-to-miss mistakes. 

Your Return Policy Is Nowhere To be Seen 

For a customer, it’s too time-consuming and frustrating to find where the return policy is. It takes too much patience, and no people want to waste their time on such things. 

It’s important to keep the return policy easy to find. Make sure it’s simple to get and easy to access.

For your customers, it can be hassle-free to find the return policy. Keep it accessible, so it doesn’t waste anyone’s time. 

Your Return Policy Is Too Hard To Read 

Customers who don’t get what your return policy is all about can get more confused about it.

Well, confused customers don’t like to shop again, which also decreases the chances of getting them back to your store. 

Make the policy easy to read, so no matter who is reading it can understand it simply. 

You Have Return Time Limit Is Too Less

When it comes to fixing the return time limit, ensure you do not have too many time limits. But also don’t keep it too short. 

Especially when it comes to season and gifting, it doesn’t suit that much.  

The ideal day you can choose is a 30-day return. Don’t make the return window too short; it will confuse and nervous your buyers to purchase from you.

You Have a Lack In Staffing 

Staffing is important in handling returns. Also, the returned items need to be sold fast, and the more it stays back, the less likely it will get the chance. 

 Also, handling the customers who are returning the parcels needs extra attention. Such customers are important as you can handle them wrongly and can cause harm to your reputation and image. 

Understanding what your policy is about and how to make the situation hassle-free is important too. 

You Don’t Have A Proper System 

Co-founder & Managing Partner of  RSR Research Paula Rosenblum recommended that e-commerce companies get their return policies into four categories. 

Divide it into easy-to-resold,   good but not salvageable merchandise that requires repairs and products that must be sent to vendors.

For the eCommerce business, it’s important to have a proper system to handle the customer reselling the returned products to the store. 

Frequently Asked  Questions ( FAQs)

Why does my store need a good return policy?

For e-commerce stores,  having a return policy that is concise and clear gives a guarantee to their buyers. Also, it removes the fear or anxiety that happens before the purchase.  

Also, if the buyers don’t get the believer return policy, they can end up not buying the product. It increases the doubt and suspicion about the product. 

What will be called a good return policy?

A good return policy is those in which if the customer is not 100% satisfied with their purchase can do the return. And they will receive a refund or exchange.

Also, the product they will return should follow the conditions mentioned by the company in their policy. 

How does a good return policy affect sales?

A good return policy can help in working as a marketing tool. Advertising it right can help get more buyers as it will assure an easy return process. 

In the end, it will boost sales, and more people would like to spend money.

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