The brunt of the holiday shopping rush may be over, but the busy season isn’t done just yet.The day after Christmas is historically the third largest shopping day of the year, and that momentum continues into January as customers spend gift cards, make returns and exchange unwanted items. This year, an estimated $260 billion worth of merchandise will be returned.
Although returns aren’t ideal for revenue growth and can be time consuming to process, they do provide the opportunity to engage new customers. Capitalize on the increased foot traffic with these four tips for building loyalty among customers coming in to make returns and exchanges:

1. Know Your Return Policy

Have a well-defined return and exchange policy in place and make sure your employees know the guidelines like the back of their hand. It’s important to be consistent and fair when handling returns, but your policy should allow for some flexibility, too. For example, you might not fully refund a purchase after 30 days, but you could choose to offer a store credit after the deadline has passed. After all, the end goal is to keep customers happy and coming back for more. With your guidelines set and employees trained, you’ll be able to handle returns and exchanges quickly and fairly, leaving customers with a positive shopping experience.

2. Speed Up Your Checkout Lines

Waiting in long lines to make a return can be frustrating. If you can speed up the process, you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression. To cut down on long lines, consider accepting mobile payments, which are known for their speed, track inventory closely and train employees carefully so that they can answer customer questions without involving a manager. Additionally, ensure that you have enough employees to cover all of your registers during the busiest return times.

3. Make an Impression at the Register

Customers coming in to make returns or exchanges will likely spend the majority of their in-store time at the register, which means it’s important to leave a lasting impression at the checkout counter. While your sales associates will drive the checkout experience, your point of sale terminal can also play an important role. Consider pushing branded images and content to your POS splash screen, so your brand is top of mind from start to finish. You can also use your POS to highlight upcoming sales and events that could entice customers to make a return visit.

4. Keep the Special Offers Coming

The special offers don’t have to end when the holidays are over. In fact, they shouldn’t. If that buy-one-get-one deal was successful during the holidays, considering extending it through January to encourage purchasing from customers who are visiting to make returns or exchanges. With a deal that’s too good to pass up, they may be enticed to swap their returns for something new, instead of taking their money back. This is also a great way to show new customers that your store holds sales year round, not just during the holidays.
What is your business doing to build customer loyalty after the holiday shopping season? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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​​How to Turn Returns and Exchanges into Longtime Loyalty

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