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COVID-19 Considerations For Your Return Policy


With the threat COVID-19 poses to the entire nation, life is changing before our eyes. Between mandatory work from home, social distancing, and the closing of all non-essential businesses, one thing is certain; we’re all going to be forced to adapt to our new reality, in real-time, day by day.

As physical retailers have been forced to close their doors, online retailers are facing a unique set of challenges. Teams have been tasked with flattening the curve, while still getting their products into the hands of customers. 

To help your team navigate these challenging times, we have pulled together three things to think about when it comes to managing returns:

1. Communicate return policy changes

On your Homepage:

  • Make sure site visitors can easily find your return policy page.
  • Consider using homepage real estate to alert visitors of important return or exchange related updates.

On your Returns Policy page:

  • Consider outlining the steps you’re taking to keep employees safe and your inventory, and warehouse(s) clean.

  • Re-review your existing returns policy line by line to ensure changes are clearly communicated. 

2. Update your Return Policies

Given staffing shortages, inability to travel freely, and loyal customers suddenly facing financial hardships, if feasible, consider:

  • Extending your return eligibility window to accommodate customers who may have a harder time traveling to their shipping provider.
  • Removing return shipping fees.
  • Letting customers keep a returned item altogether if it can’t be resold.

3. Automate your returns process

If your returns management platform supports these capabilities:

  • Enable auto-restock. This will automatically increase the item's stock by one in your store upon a return. 
  • Enable auto-settle for all RMAs. This will solve for any slowdowns your warehouse might experience, and it will ensure your customers are receiving their refunds in a reasonable amount of time. 

As events from the COVID-19 pandemic unfold and the impact on eCommerce and our economy as a whole becomes more clear, we’ll make sure to update these considerations.

This article originally appeared in the Returnly blog and has been published here with permission.

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