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The Secrets To A Return Policy That Serves Your Business

February 16, 2014

By Ali Cudby

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A lingerie retail store – either bricks-and-mortar or online – is customer service oriented by definition. If you don’t make your customers happy, they won’t come back. Without customers, you’ll find yourself out of business. Seems obvious.

So retailers want to please their customers. But what happens when the thing that works best for the business is directly opposite to what the customer wants? That gets challenging. You need to protect your business and also your relationship with your customers – so how do you decide when to side with your business and when to side with your customer?

Let’s take a concrete example – your return policy. Sometimes customers want to return an item outside of your stated return policy. So how can you protect yourself, and when should you bend the rules and allow exceptions?

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I talked to Alison Rubke, co-owner of Los Angeles boutique and online shop Faire Frou Frou. She shared that she has her return policy stated clearly throughout the store and right on the receipt. She makes the policy clear up front, to minimize confusion down the road – even if that means losing the sale. Returns and exchanges are expensive for the store, in time, credit card fees and wear and tear on the merchandise.

When customers ask for a return outside of her policy, her most effective tool is using calm and a smile. She knows she has the policy on her side, and even if the customer is unhappy with the policy, she makes every effort not to give them a negative interaction.

At the same time, Rubke tries to be flexible with her policy on a case by case basis. She tries to determine, “if someone is being genuine, and I rely heavily on that. I understand that if I was the customer I would want the same treatment.”

Understanding how to determine a return policy that won’t hurt your business, when to make exceptions and how to deal with unhappy customers are just some ways retail stores take their lingerie businesses to the next level

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You can hear my interview with Faire Frou Frou’s Alison Rubke in its entirety.

A QUICK NOTE: If you’ll be at Curvexpo in New York this month, I’m leading a seminar to talk about more ways your lingerie businesses can grow and thrive. You’re invited! Register to attend the event on Sunday, February 23rd at 2pm on the CurveNY site: www.curvexpo.com/new-york/events-to-attend

 
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