Selling Glasses Online. What Return Policy Should Be?

6 January 2015

Eyeglasses are among lest returned items bought on Internet. Eyeglasses returns account for only 5%. Rx glasses are returned even at lesser rate. Compare that to clothing return rate of 30% and realize that selling glasses online is still a very lucrative business.

When you are setting up your LiveOptical store you will need to think about various terms and conditions that will apply to your customers. One type of terms and conditions is Return’s Policy. All LiveOptical websites have a sample Return Policy typed into Return Policy static page. You have to change it according to your own opinion. Plus you would need at a minim to rewrite our text in your own words to minimize content duplicity. Return’s Policy is also one of the first pages Google checks when indexing your website. If you have a clear Return’s Policy or any of the keywords “free”, “free returns”, “any time”, “contact us”, Google will favour your website over others. But of course, it does not mean that you should adopt free return policy.

What is Free Returns?

Free returns mean that you will not charge any service or restocking fees for returns. You may still charge for shipping as it is separate from the glasses item. When eyeglasses are returned to you unlikely be able to return them back to manufacturer. You will need to put it back on the shelf to sell it to your walk-in customers. You will be in minus for the frame and for the shipping. You will also be out a few cents for online transaction that credit card will charge you, just like for POS transaction. You can deduct the shipping cost and any fees asscociated with your losses except the frame that you received back.

Should Returns Be Free?

No they should not be free. It is quite popular among our customers to charge restocking fee. Large companies such as FramesDirect or ClearlyContacts (both owned by Essilor) may have different relationships with suppliers that allow to return all orders that came back. These websites have no issues to afford free returns and even eat the shipping costs. Due to large volumes their shipping costs are at a 50% or so discount. It’s a typical pros and cons battle. If you charge restocking fee, you will get less orders, but you will also get less returns. Once you start charging restocking fees, your return rate will drop below 5%. Your customers will be more aware of what they are buying and confident with not returning it unless they have change of heart or need their money back.

What Should be In Return’s Policy?

Whether you charge restocking fees of not, your returns policy should have:

-       If there are fees, what are they?

-       If there are no fees, it should clearly state, free returns

-       If returns are free under certain conditions, conditions should be clear. For example, returns are free with 100% money back guarantee if eyeglasses returned within a week. Otherwise, 10% restocking fee will apply within next week. No returns are accepted after a week of receipt in the mail.

-       What is the acceptable method of return? Should customers ship eyeglasses back to you? Or they are allowed to walk in to drop them off? Dropping them off could be an excellent opportunity for you to upsell them with eyeglasses from your own stock and turn the online customer into walk-in customer.

-       How money will be returned? You may want to allow local customers walk in to return the eyeglasses instead of shipping them back to you. In this case, you can take eyeglasses, but you would only be able to return the money via cash or online. So if you decide to accept walk-in returns, you need to explain how money will be returned. Motivating people to walk in to return is good because this will be your chance to upsell the customer from your own stock.

-       Is there exchange policy? Exchanges could get quite tricky for eyeglasses because you will not have all models in stock. You may want to consider inviting your customers to your store to pick an alternative frame from your own stock.

-       What customer should do to return the eyeglasses? Should they e-mail you first or simply mail it to you without warning? You might want to get the written intention first, so you know to expect them back.

We recommend that you spend an hour to read Return Policies from any other popular websites. You will realize that some of these policies could be quite lengthy and give you many ideas to form you own customer friendly and fair Returns Policy. You can always change later as you start selling and shipping more product.