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    How Can I Control Customer Returns On Our Apparel?

    'How can I control my return rate on women's apparel? We run about 10% which seems high. We do not promote pushing sales. Our return policy is 14 days money back with receipt. We want to be friendly to customers but also business smart. Any thoughts on what I'm missing?'

    A: Once this posted,  several people jumped in too and said, "You should ask people why they're returning it." And somebody else said, 'Oh, it should only be seven days."

    The reality is pro-customer is going to cost you money, right? So unlimited returns, like Nordstrom used to offer, ends up getting a lot of people who use your system. I totally get that. Notice even Nordstrom on their high-end items has a big tag that says, "It has to be on here when it's returned," there's no way you can tuck it in or something like that.

    I just say you have to have clear return policies behind your counter and also on your register. You certainly want to be telling people every time. "By the way, our return policy, you could return it within 14 days with receipt or for 30 days without a receipt for store credit." And that's it.

    Having said that, you're going to have people who are going to demand that you take it back after a month and cause a scene. And let's face it, millennials like to wear it and return it.

    That's kind of on all sorts of blogs and shown in all kinds of movies. Those shoppers threaten that they're going to give you a bad review and all that kind of stuff.

    By the way, if they bought it with Visa or MasterCard, you're going to have to give it to them anyway because that's your merchant agreement. So I encourage you to be proactive.

    But I have to tell you, apparel stores, the average return rate is 6%. So if you're ay 10%, that's not so bad.

    Worry more about how to sell it. And especially when you tell me, "We do not promote pushing sales." The way to not have so many returns is know how to use the fitting room, and I have a whole blog on how to use fitting rooms.

    But until the person tries it on, the item is not sold. So understand that if you're not using your fitting rooms correctly, you're probably causing this.

    See also, How Stores Can Use Their Fitting Rooms To Fight Online Retailers

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