If you operate within the ecommerce space, whether it’s an online store or a SaaS, it’s essential to have a clear and comprehensive return policy.
This guide will go over what a return policy is and how to write one, and provide examples of return policies from other companies.
1. What Is a Return Policy?
A return policy is a dedicated page that outlines the conditions under which your customers can return purchased goods or services, apply for refunds, or exchange products.
Your return policy should address:
- Which items can and can’t be returned or exchanged
- The number of days customers have to exchange or return the product
- What type of refund or exchange will be provided (e.g., cash refund, store credit)
- Shipping costs and shipping address
2. How to Write a Standard Return Policy
Return policies vary across businesses depending on the types of goods and services offered and customer demands.
Here’s an overview of the main sections of a return policy:
A return policy should clearly state whether your company accepts returns on purchased products or refund claims for services.
Include details about the conditions in which an item must be returned, how to start the return process, and what items are exempt from the return policy.
If you don’t allow returns, you should let your customers know by providing a no return policy.
Your shipping policy should be included in your return policy, whether you run an ecommerce business or a physical store. Outline whether mail returns are accepted, the shipping address, who covers shipping costs, and any other shipping guidelines your business requires.
While many businesses choose to put their warranty policy in their terms and conditions, it’s also good practice to include details of the warranty policy in your return policy template, so customers know how to deal with warrantied goods.
If your company allows refunds, outline the conditions and time limitations of the refund process, how customers receive the refund, and the type of refund offered (e.g. store credit, full/partial refund, replacement product).
Also include how long it will take for customers to receive their refund or replacement product, while factoring in the time it takes for online transfers or mailing and shipping.
If your company doesn’t allow refunds, state this explicitly in a no refund policy.
Exchange policies are a specific type of refund policy, as refunds can include replacement goods of similar value. Exchange policies should detail when and how customers can trade in products.
3. Return Policy Examples
When creating your own return and refund policy, it’s valuable to see what other companies are doing. Here are some examples of return policy templates:
Return Policies for Small Businesses
Since small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are dependent on a loyal customer base, having a comprehensive and concise return and refund policy can help strengthen customer relations. Consider your business’s and your customers’ needs, and establish policies that are easy to understand, justifiable, and easily accessible to customers.
Here’s an example of Back Beat Co’s return policy:
Their policy clearly states which items are eligible for returns, the timeframe for returns, shipping information, and how long it takes to receive the refund.
Every business will differ in the way they handle returns, refunds, and exchanges depending on their profit margins and business needs. As long as the refund policies are clear and accessible to customers, you’ve done your job.
Ecommerce Return Policy
Ecommerce business owners may need to consider shipping costs in their returns and refunds policies. For big companies such as Home Depot, with their many stores across the country, they offer both online returns and returns to stores.
Let’s take a look at Home Depot’s return policy:
Home Depot offers customers a long period for returns, and they offer full refunds in cash and store credit.
For another example of an ecommerce return policy template, check out Amazon’s return policy, which addresses the return processes for different types of products sold on their site:
4. Create Your Return Policy Now
Return policies are valuable assets for businesses of all sizes. Even though return policies may not be legally required in all states, having them in place acts as a safeguard against potential legal complaints.
And with the boom of the online marketplace, having a clear return policy will enhance customers’ shopping experience, which can improve customer retention for your business.
Make your own return policy in minutes by using our free return policy generator.