Amazon Expands Free Returns to Millions More Items
Amazon.com is expanding its free return policy to include millions of products not previously eligible, including electronics, household items, and kitchen appliances. The products must be sold and fulfilled by Amazon, and they must weigh under 50 pounds. For the holiday season, the new policy kicks in retroactively, so it applies to any products purchased on Amazon starting Nov. 1 and remains active for any product purchased up until Dec. 31. Customers will have until Jan. 31 to return a product delivered in that time frame for free. Going forward, Amazon says the expanded free return policy will remain in effect from 2020 onward, but customers will have only 30 days from the date of delivery to claim the free return instead of the full two month-window in effect right now.
Total Retail's Take: As more shopping shifts online, particularly this holiday season, a flexible and customer-friendly (i.e., free) returns policy can be the difference between a consumer purchasing from your brand or one of its competitors. Considering that Amazon already owns the lion's share of the e-commerce market, this latest announcement figures to help the retailer bolster that position by capturing last-minute, indecisive holiday shoppers who want to ensure their gift purchase can be returned before clicking the "Buy" button. Figuring out a way to reduce product returns is a key priority for retailers as we head into 2020, especially as they continue to ramp up their e-commerce businesses.