Dealing With Holiday Returns

The final holiday rush is over. You’ve got that great feeling of relief and accomplishment and you’re starting to think about what you’re going to do with all the hard-earned money you made from your holiday sales. And then they start…


It sometimes feels like people returning their gifts are taking money from you, doesn’t it? Big ticket items can be particularly painful… there goes a car payment, there goes a nice dinner on my winter vacation, there goes a weekend up north.

It’s natural. But it’s important to realize that the people who are returning their gifts represent an opportunity.

Treat the people returning their gifts as if they are your (soon-to-be) best customers.

Someone obviously thought they would like what you sell or they wouldn’t have chosen a gift from your store. So keep your wonderful holiday spirit for the next week or two and treat the person at your counter with a return like a highly valued customer.

Recommend replacements, sign them up for your preferred customer club, give them a gift certificate towards their next purchase (or let them use it on their exchange), but do whatever it takes to make sure they feel good about their experience in your store.

If you have very stringent return policies (ugh), you may want to think about modifying them for the week or two after Christmas. I mean, it’s not Patty’s fault that her Aunt Gertrude didn’t include a gift receipt in the package. Give the gal a break!

Most people head to the stores with their returns expecting to encounter a grumbling, gruff staff person ready to give them a hard time. Instead, show them how great it is to shop at your store and you may find yourself with some content new customers.

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