The rest of us deal with returns.
On the surface, you want to do everything possible to prevent a return. You lose the sales associated with the return, and you are dinged five bucks or ten bucks for shipping and/or warehousing fees. Your CFO sure doesn't want you encouraging customers to return merchandise, now does she?
When you do the math, however, you learn two very interesting things.
- Returns act as a "mini-order" if the customer exchanges the item for something else. In other words, if the customer spends $100, keeps $50, and exchanges $50 for another $50 item, the net of $0 in the transaction is offset by a "mini-order" of $50 ... the customer performs more like a 2x buyer spending $150 than a 1x buyer spending $100.
- In almost every business I analyze, you have an eight-to-twelve week window to encourage a customer to buy again ... then the customer slowly becomes inactive.
So use the opportunity to encourage any communication with the customer in the weeks after a purchase.
And if you're really concerned about returns, then stop emailing customers who return merchandise all the time!