Preparing your business for a spike in returns after Black Friday

Leeann Nash November 4th 2022 - 3 minute read

With Black Friday just a few short weeks away, you are likely busy preparing your business for one of the busiest shopping events of the year.

However in the rush to secure stock and claim a position in Amazon’s coveted Buy Box it can be easy to forget to plan for how you will handle the deluge of returns which traditionally follow in the week after Black Friday

Studies have shown that up to 30% of customers are likely to return impulse purchases made on Black Friday. Posing a major challenge to unprepared businesses.

In this article we will look at ways you can prepare your business for potential returns this Black Friday and beyond.

Be clear about your returns policy

Now, a customer could be returning an item for a variety of reasons. There could be a size issue, the item could be damaged, or the customer could have changed their mind. Really it doesn’t matter. What does it the fact that you’re clear about your returns policy.

First of all, make sure your policies are visible. This could mean temporarily adding them to your website’s navigation bar. Or having them pop up as a window for customers to interact with. You could also make a graphic outlining your returns policy to share on your social media platforms.

Make sure that your returns policy is realistic. 14 to 30 days is typically the standard. However, considering most people get their Christmas shopping between November and December, it may be worth extending your returns policy to cover the entire Christmas period. That way if customers want to return or exchange gifts during the January sales they can!

Offer product details to minimise the need for returns

Being as clear about your products as possible can help you reduce the amount of returns you’ll get. It may seem like overkill, but when it comes to writing product descriptions there is no such thing as too much.

You need to make sure all your product photos are clear and have shots from different angles. Listing diameter, height and weight is also useful. If the product is makeup, or perishable make sure you include an ingredients list.

The more details you give a consumer, the more informed decision they can make. This in turn could reduce the amount of returns you have to process.

Offer quality customer service

Now, good customer service is important all year round but it the winter season it’s arguably the most important time of the year for retailers. An issue with Black Friday is that it’s not built on customer loyalty. Consumers are just flocking to the best deals they can find.

This is where your customer service could be the difference between a one-and-done consumer and a return customer. Did you know that 76% of UK consumers are more concerned about their shopping experience than the products they buy?

Build off that knowledge by offering friendly, insightful support. Whether it’s through a responsive online chat bot, or you’re able to host live Q&A’s, supporting your customers with their needs can help lower the need for returns.

Try and keep returns simple and low cost

When it comes to returning an item, you want the process to be as painless as possible. It’s all about convince. As such, you want to streamline the process. You can do this by making sure your packaging is reusable and that you provide a return form with the product, along with a shipping label.

The lower your return costs are to your consumers, the more likely they are to purchase your goods. If you are able to absorb the cost and facilitate free returns, then you should consider it. Although we understand that might not be doable for every small business.

In this case, try and offer as many alternatives as possible. If you can, offer drop off points or in-store returns so customers don’t have to pay for shipping.

We hope that this article has offered some guidance on how to prepare for Black Friday returns this year. Remember, when it come to the online shopping experience, ease is everything. The customer should enjoy every part of their journey. Even if they are returning something.

Making sure you’re quick, concise, and understanding will go a long way. With any luck with you many even see your returning customer base expand in the new year.

Written by
Leeann Nash

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