Preparing Your Business For Holiday ReturnsJanuary 2019 / Share
The run-up to the holidays is a hectic period not just for shoppers, but also businesses that must prepare for the heavy crowds and last-minute gift-buyers. However, even though families might get a reprieve with some relaxation after the holidays, businesses aren't afforded such luxuries.
Just as soon as the wrapping paper hits the trash can, businesses have to start preparing for returns. Everybody has that fussy relative who is difficult to buy for, and who also ends up in the return line. Multiply that situation across the nation and its clear the scale of returns businesses will have to deal with.
It's important for businesses to be agile and responsive, especially when it comes to holiday returns. Here are some steps to take to ensure a smooth season:
Have a policy, and make sure it's communicated
The clear place to start is having a returns policy. If your business doesn't have one already, now's high time to craft one. A store without a returns policy is a lot like a rudderless ship left at sea — you'll be easily lost among the potential flood of returns. No protocols can easily lead to dissatisfied customers who won't shop again or will give a bad word-of-mouth recommendation.
It's one thing to have a policy in place, and another if it's just a piece of paper. Businesses should be overly clear about their returns policies during the holidays. Leave nothing to chance: have the policy plastered on the counter or taped to shelving ends; include it on receipts or in email confirmations.
Get staff trained up
For small businesses who may not have a dedicated returns team, getting the rest of staff educated on policies and processes is critical. Though it might represent a quick pivot from the holiday sales rush, there's a tone of value in taking the time beforehand to ensure staff are up to date and knowledgeable about returns. Any snags on your end might not only slow down your processing, but also frustrate customers. Both you and the shopper want to get the return over with, so ensure your talent is capable of servicing these needs.
Prepare for ecommerce returns
Most brick-and-mortar stores have an online presence, while other small businesses may be entirely online. Ecommerce returns present a totally different beast for these enterprises to deal with, since a lot of the onus falls on businesses to facilitate the return. It's not going to be easy for a customer halfway across the country to make a return, but the business has to make it as simple as possible. This is often done by including return labels and other materials customers need for shipping products back. It may come at a cost, but the returns from ecommerce can help mitigate the sting.
It can be a challenge to get your business focused on returns immediately after a holiday spree. If needing operational help or assistance in other areas, call Vectra Bank today to learn more about our business products and services.
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The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal, business or investment advice.