The gift-giving portion of the holiday season has ended. Now, consumers are left to decide what they want to keep and what they want to return. Returns can be frustrating for retailers, especially after another season of below average holiday sales. However, returns can still provide a great opportunity for retailers to capture a new audience and re-engage existing customers.
Gift-givers picked out the perfect gifts from their favorite stores. Unfortunately, recipients often feel differently. Luckily, they most likely received a gift receipt, as 62% of holiday shoppers include gift receipts with their gifts, according to the National Retail Foundation.
Many recipients will return or exchange their gifts, but just because someone is making a return, it doesnt mean you cant gain a new customer out of the transaction. Whether online or in-store, this is your chance to make the return experience easy and enjoyable while still getting the information needed in order to retarget.
If this is the first time a customer has entered your store, and its only to return something they received as a gift, ask for an email address and reason for return. This will not only allow you to employ the practice of email retargeting to bring them back and expand your cookie pool, you can also target strategically based on the original reason for return. For example, an item didnt fit and the correct size is out of stock? Show ads for similar items, new discounts, and new sizes. Is a customer making a return on behalf of someone else? Entice them to look around and possibly self-gift. They may have entered your store to make a return, but they dont have to walk away empty-handed.
From offline to online
Is someone returning a gift they received through the mail? There are a few ways you can capture these customers, too. A return authorization form is a common practice among retailers. This process requires the consumer to quickly answer a couple of questions about the return. Once completed, the retailer will email the customer an authorization form to include in the return package.
This quick authorization process not only helps against return fraud, but its another way for retailers to capture email or mailing addresses of customers who may not have already been in their database. This opens the door for CRM retargeting, a highly innovative retargeting technique that allows you to serve display ads to people with nothing but an email or mailing address.
The key takeaway for retailers when it comes to holiday returns — every transaction counts, even returns. While in the short run you are accepting a return and losing money, there is an opportunity build a relationship with someone who could become a loyal customer in the future. Gathering the right information during the holiday return season allows you to utilize retargeting techniques that will bring customers back. Even if they are not your target customer, they will inevitably shop for someone who is. A pleasant and enjoyable return experience can help you win a new customer while email and CRM retargeting can ensure you stay top of mind when that customer is ready to shop again.