Return Policy Overview

Last Updated: February 12, 2024

A return policy is a set of guidelines that describes the steps your store will take and the criteria it will use to accept returns and exchanges. It also includes the steps that your customers need to take to request a return. 

Your store’s return policy outlines how you handle and deal with post-purchase customer requests such as: 

  1. Exchanging or returning items.
  2. Canceling an order before it is fulfilled.
  3. Types of refunds customers can get such as store credit, gift card, or refund to payment method.

Having a clear and detailed return policy sets expectations, so the customer understands how returns and exchanges work before making a purchase. 

A return policy serves several key functions:

  • Outlines criteria for accepting returns - The policy specifies under what circumstances and conditions the store will accept a return or exchange request. This includes things like imposing time limits, condition of the product, acceptance of open or used items, etc.
  • Details what customers must do - Step-by-step instructions for how the customer will return their item. This involves things like how to pack and ship the item, where to send it, providing documentation, etc.
  • Describes the steps the store will take - This includes how the store will handle returns, what the return process looks like on their end, any conditions or restrictions they impose, and how customers will be refunded or compensated.

Given that many customers don't check the return policy before purchasing, offering a self-service return portal makes it easy for them to request returns and exchanges based on your return policy. 

The portal automatically offers customers only the options they’re eligible for, based on the return policy you set in ReturnGO, to ensure that only eligible return requests are accepted. This enforces your return policy while providing a streamlined experience for customers.

Structure of a Policy Rule

Your return policy on ReturnGO is comprised of policy rules, which define how you handle different cases. A policy rule is a combination of the following elements: 

Resolution

  • The way the requested action (i.e. exchange or refund) will be implemented.

Return Method

  • How the customer will return the item to your store, if at all.

Eligibility Conditions

  • The conditions under which customers are eligible to return items.

Operational Settings

  • Automation rules and additional fees.

Implementing Your Return Policy

You can set up an unlimited number of policy rules on ReturnGO, to handle any return scenario no matter how complex.

Each policy rule can have different criteria, enabling you to handle returns differently based on customer location, item price, return reason, and more.

When a customer requests a return or exchange, the portal checks which policy rules apply to the situation. If there is more than one applicable policy rule, the return portal will let the customer choose from the relevant policy rules. 

For example, the customer might have these policy rules to choose from when requesting a refund:

  1. Ship the item back with a pre-paid label and get a refund to payment method, minus a $5 return processing fee.
  2. Ship the item with any carrier and get a refund by gift card plus a 10% bonus.

Policy Rule Flexibility

With ReturnGO, you have the flexibility to create an unlimited number of policy rules tailored to your store’s specific requirements. 

Here are just a few examples:

    • By Location: Create separate policy rules for different regions, to account for factors like international shipping costs and return methods. For example, you can have separate policy rules for domestic and international exchanges:
      • Variant Exchange (US)
      • Variant Exchange (International)
    • By Return Reason: Tailor policy rules based on why the customer is returning the item. For example, you could have separate policies for damaged items, change of mind, and other reasons, offering different resolutions and fees for each. For example, your refund policy rules could look like this:
      • Refund (item damaged - free returns)
      • Refund (changed mind - $5 processing fee)
    • By Automation Rules: Automate certain aspects of the return process based on specific conditions. For instance, you could automate returns and exchanges due to sizing issues or changes of mind, and manually review more complex cases such as complaints about product quality. For example, you could have:
      • Manual returns & exchanges (item defective or poor quality)
      • Automated refunds & exchanges (all other reasons)
  • By Return Window: You can set up policy rules to apply different resolutions or fees depending on when the customer returns the item. For example, you could offer: 
    • Within 7 days - Full refund or exchange
    • Within 30 days - Store credit only
    • After 30 days - Not accepted

With ReturnGO, you can mix and match various conditions and settings to create customized policy rules to handle any return scenario for your business. The return portal will automatically provide the relevant options to customers, thus preventing ineligible requests and enabling you to easily enforce your return policy.

What's the Difference Between the Return Policy on Your Site and in ReturnGO?

The difference between the return policy you show on your site and the policy rules you set in ReturnGO is that the written return policy displayed on your site serves as a customer-facing document outlining the guidelines and process for returns and exchanges. It provides transparency to customers, letting them know what to expect regarding returns before buying. 

On the other hand, the return policy you configure in ReturnGO is what actually enforces those rules behind the scenes through customizable policy rules, automated workflows, and operational settings.

The return policy you display on your website is more focused on what the customer needs to know about what they can return and how, while your policy rules in ReturnGO will also include backend settings such as automation rules, return methods associated with specific shipping carriers, etc.

Setting Up Your Return Policy

To set up your return policy, you’ll need to configure policy rules to cover all of the conditions and settings that you want to support.

With ReturnGO's flexible and unlimited return policy settings, you can tailor your return policy to meet your business's specific needs.