National Returns Week: How to Make the Best Out of It
Posted in Retail Trends
What is National Returns Week?
National Returns Week may sound silly. We all know, the retail industry bombards us with all of the “shopping holidays”. The shopping holidays season kicks off with “Black Friday” – the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy. Then, continues through the weekend ending on Cyber Monday. Forbes has reported 2017’s Cyber Monday hit a new record at $6.6 billion. Making it the largest online shopping day in U.S History. Forbes also reports, this holiday shopping season has so far brought in a total of $50 billion online revenue. That’s a 16.8 percent increase from last year! Naturally, the retail world is over-the-top happy. Some lesser-known shopping holidays continue to gain traction. For example, “Green Monday” (Usually 2nd Monday in December) and “Free Shipping Day” (2017 – Friday 12/15) have become increasingly more popular. Can you complain if more sales means more returns?
How to Profit during National Returns Week?
As retailers are focusing on moving merchandise out the door or warehouse and into the hands of the consumer, smart retailers will be thinking ahead on how to combat National Returns Week in January. An influx in merchandise returns after the holidays are a fact of retail life. November through December is the “season of giving”. Whereas, in January you have the “month of returns”. One could assume UPS and FedEx would be the only ones thrilled with the increase in returned products.
Heading into January 2018, smart retailers recognize returns are opportunities for higher sales. The National Retail Federation (NRF) commissioned a study that indicated that 48% of U.S consumers will be going to stores after Christmas. They will be making returns, redeeming gift cards and looking for deals. Retailers must think outside of the box and grasp the opportunity of getting a return and converting it into an exchange. Or even better, a chance to upsell!
Handling Returns 101
We have all had both positive and negative experiences with retail returns. There will always be the shopper that returns the gift for cash and then leaves the store and there’s not much you can do about it. However, most returns are an opportunity to pinpoint your customer’s needs better – a chance to convince them you are a solution to their need. Shep Hyken is a customer service and shopping holidays expert and has shared some of his insight with Forbes, here.
- See the Opportunity: Train your staff to recognize returns can be disguised as chances to showcase customer service. Engaging employees that genuinely want to help customers, creates a strong positive impression.
- Make It Easy: Take lessons from well-known retailers who have easy return policies. Online retailer Zappos.com is famous for their customer service; one of many reasons is easy return policies. They even encourage customers to order extra merchandise with the promise they can return what they don’t want or don’t use. Furthermore, no-hassle return policies create confidence, which turn into sales and long-term loyal customers.
National Returns Week Shows & Builds Character
Every interaction you have with a customer they are forming an impression of your store or online business. Businesses putting the same effort into recognizing returns as part of the process and embracing them for the opportunities they create, is another way to win customers and prove that you are easy to do business with.
Lastly, what enhancements can you make in your company’s return process to ensure customer’s keep coming back? We’d love to hear in the comments below. Happy National Returns Week!