If you have not spent much time thinking about your online product return policy, listen up. It matters greatly. In fact, the findings we are about to reveal to you here could mean the difference between a windfall of annual profits or a stagnant sales stream at your online store.

Consumers have spoken – and they have consistently voiced their demand for easy and convenient online product returns from e-retailers. If it’s been a while since you visited you returns policy, use the information provided here to update it and encourage more sales at your ecommerce stores.

Most Consumers Read Your Returns Policy

One study that was recently conducted regarding how many consumers actually read the return policy at an online store found that over 61% of consumers will take the time to read it. What the return policy states will factor into whether or not the consumer does business with an online store. Keep in mind that consumers don’t want returns to be a hassle. They want simple, hassle-free returns, or they will find an online store that offers them this.

Over 75% of Sales Are Encouraged by a Returns Policy

Just how important is your online product returns policy? One study found that it affects as much as 75% of your sales. Considering that over 60% of shoppers are reading the policy to begin with – also bearing in mind that some consumers will read reviews left by others who shopped at a store online – it’s a large number you should be aware of. If your return policy is not conducive to being hassle-free, you’ll be missing out on a lot more sales that could have otherwise been flowing into your ecommerce store.

Consumers Want Simple, Hassle-Free Online Returns

An overwhelming majority of all consumers want returns to be hassle-free without any associated cost. This means that they want free return shipping and no restocking fees. It can be tough to factor this into your bottom line. One way is to utilize a returns tracking software to better predict online returns. In this manner, you can factor what you’ll have to absorb, if you plan to offer free returns, and how often you will be spending money to add this customer service staple to your online store.

Most Returns Are YOUR Fault (Really, They Are)

You probably don’t want to read this next part, but it’s important. Most returns that are initiated by consumers online are actually the e-retailer’s fault. According to the most recent numbers, over 65% of all returns are the fault of the ecommerce store. The leading reasons why include: product arrived damaged; product did not fit; product was drastically different than was represented online; wrong product was shipped. With this in mind, you can understand why offering hassle-free returns is so imperative with attracting sales and winning over customers.

Simple Returns Increase Profits by as Much as 357%!

A study that was featured on CNBC found that a hassle-free returns policy with free shipping and no restocking fees actually can make you a lot of money in the long run, to the tune of a 357% profit increase per customer. Two major online stores were followed for several years, with tens of thousands of transactions being monitored. The findings revealed that a simple returns tracking software solution that enabled free online returns yielded an increase in repeat consumer spending at these stores by as much as $2,400 over two years per consumer.

Now that you have the facts all laid out in front of you, it is easier to understand the importance of featuring hassle-free returns at your online store. One way to make them free for customers is to use affordable shipping options like USPS Priority Mail. Another method is to factor that cost into your bottom line, and view it as an advertising expenditure that ultimately results in more sales and a cushier long term profit yield.