The ‘Easy’ Return. Another Form of Gonzo Advertising

You better know what you are doing when you buy Christmas presents this year.  You better consider all the new policies pertaining to ‘returns.’

These days, when you take a gift, or any item, back to the store for a return or refund, it wouldn’t hurt to know what’s going to happen.  Are you going to get your money back?  Or are you going to be thrown into the dreaded ‘return within 14 days for in-store credit only’ batch.  Most of the time, at least for me,  it’s a shock when you’re stuck with ‘in-store credit’.

And it is no longer as easy as simply taking the item back to the store.  For example, if you buy something from Old Navy off their website,  you can take the item to one of the existing stores and get a refund . . . BUT . . .  you can’t exchange the item for a better fitting size.  HUH?

The really neat lady’s boutique that my wife does business with here in town is tougher,  yet at this boutique,  you can only exchange the item for another one in the store.  So, if the store has one single, really sharp dress, and 42 ugly ones, you are in big trouble when you take the pretty dress back for a return.

The big boys are getting smarter and smarter about all this.  For example, here is the new return policy for Amazon:

You may return most new, unopened items sold and fulfilled by Amazon within 30 days of delivery for a full refund.  During the holidays, items shipped by Amazon between November 1st and December 31st can be returned until January 31st.  Usually in about 2-3 weeks.

Now that’s a good return policy.  Good for the consumer—which brings me to the whole point of this story.

Why hold the customer hostage?

As tough and as competitive as business is these days,  why would you want to make it tougher and more complicated for the customer?  Why would you hold someone to ‘in-store exchange only’ when they might not like the options they have for exchanging the original item?  Is ‘saving’ the sale worth having an unhappy customer that might tell a whole gaggle of people how unreasonable your store policy is?

So, let’s review. Here are the options:

  1.  In-Store credit only
  2.  Full refunds accepted within 30 days
  3.  Website purchases eligible for in-store credit only
  4.  Website purchases eligible for full refund if returned in enclosed package within 30 days.
  5.  No refunds or exchanges excepted on sales items
  6.  Yada Yada Yada

Too much to keep track of.   I have an idea for you if you are in the retail business.  Just make all exchanges eligible for full refunds all the time . Ed will tell Jedd about it and Ned will tell Ted and Ted will tell Fred.

It’s called word of mouth.  It’s called a good, customer friendly way of doing business . And it is the best form of advertising and the best form of EXCHANGING.

I highly recommend watching this quick video on how companies should treat the return process.

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