When Hating the Product Means Loving the Brand

Date: 2016-03-22 19:14:49 // Categories: Retail, Trends,
By: Zimmerman Advertising
Date: 2016-03-22 19:14:49 // Categories: Retail, Trends,

It’s no secret that each year more and more Americans are shifting their shopping habits to ecommerce and buying via their smart phones, tablets, and computers. In fact, according to the research firm, ShopperTrak, brick-and-mortar sales on Black Friday fell to $10.4 billion this year (down from $11.6 billion in 2014). But that’s understandable during the holidays when free shipping is the norm and customers find it easier to be online than standing in one.

So the question is: How do you keep your ecommerce customers shopping and buying year round? And apparently, the answer is simple— turn a return into a win.

I’m not talking about people revisiting a retailer’s website. I’m talking about turning product returns into an ecommerce strategy, not liability. I’m talking about showing the love even when they hate the product.

According to the Internet analytics company, comScore, “the return process” is the number one reason in-store-only shoppers refuse to buy online. While 89% of online shoppers state they’ll shop on an online store again after a positive return experience. Yes, 89%.

I have to believe it’s true, because I’ve experienced both the good and the bad when it comes to online returns and exchanges. Make my return process long, inconvenient, (and worst case scenario, expensive) and I’ll delete your app and forget you even exist. However, those doing it right will continue to get the lion’s share of my business.

And if you truly excel in your online return policy, you will turn already happy customers into brand ambassadors. Case in point: Maui Jim.

A friend had his favorite pair of Maui Jim’s eaten by his dog. He contacted the company about getting a new pair.


They shipped him a new pair that day. Along with a note and present for his dog.


Of course the win-win situation for retailers is when you can combine ecommerce with your brick and mortar stores. My wife used to hate shopping for clothes online because she would never know how something ‘really fit.’ White House|Black Market changed that. She orders online, if it doesn’t fit she takes it back to a store. And if they don’t have what she wants in-store, they order it for her before she leaves and ship it to our house. Want to guess who gets the lion share of her business?

In today’s complex, omnichannel world of retail, brands need two things to obtain happy returning customers – one is offering a killer value proposition and two is a seamless no-fault return policy. This creates a winning situation for everyone, including the dog!

So when customers “hate it” – no guilt, no obstacles, just love.

89% is just too big of a number to ignore.