How to build a return policy for men's apparel brands.

The way men shop has changed drastically, and that is changing the way that men's apparel brands are structuring their return policy.

mens apparel return policy

The way men shop has evolved drastically in the past decade. And it’s changing the way men’s apparel brands are appealing to their customers. 

Not only are men increasingly doing their shopping online, but they’re also purchasing more apparel than they ever have before. In this post, we’ll show you how to tailor your return policy to appeal to this new wave of male shoppers.

Make your return policy stand out in the growing men’s apparel space

Many brands in the men’s apparel space are going online, but not everyone is creating the same level of experience. There are several moving parts that go into creating an awesome customer experience and, given that 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase, one of the most critical pieces to pay attention to is your return policy.  

But what exactly is it that will make your return policy stand out to male shoppers? Well, if we take a look at the research, it tells us a few key things about men who shop online:

Men are more likely to describe themself as loyal to a brand than women are.

Armed with this information, we can establish two goals that we want to achieve with our men’s apparel return policy:

  1. Make it easy for them to say “yes” to your brand

  2. Keep them coming back 

Let’s take a look at some specific tactics that support these two goals:

1. Make it easy for them to say “yes”

As we mentioned before, men tend to be high-intent shoppers. This means they enter the shopping experience with a completely different mindset than someone who is just “browsing.” They know exactly what they want, and they want it ASAP. That’s why it’s so critical to have them get through the door and make a purchase the first time they visit your website. There are a few things you can add to your return policy to encourage them to say “yes” to your brand:

Offer free shipping

When a potential customer looks at your return policy, you want to demonstrate that you’re willing to invest in a relationship with them. Offering free shipping on exchanges is a great way to do this. It shows customers that you’re not out to nickel and dime them at every opportunity and are more focused on getting the right product in their hands. In fact, this gesture is so powerful that 62% of shoppers would shop again from a brand offering free returns or exchanges.

62% of shoppers would shop again from brand that is offering free returns.

Provide a generous return window

Similarly, the return window length can determine whether a customer wants to shop with you or not. If you offer a 10-day window for all returns, the shopper might think twice before buying anything from you. Similar to our approach with shipping, we recommend being as generous as possible when it comes to exchanges. Take a look at Mizzen + Main’s return window policy as an example. It shows that you value their loyalty and want them to have as much time as they need to pick the right product.

example return window length for mens apparel

2. Keep them coming back

Ok, you got your customer to make his first purchase. That’s awesome, but it’s not enough - you have to keep them coming back. Since the research shows that men are big spenders and tend to be more loyal to apparel brands, retaining even a single customer can lead to huge increases in revenue for your business. Here are a few ideas to turn your one-time customer into a repeat purchaser:

Incentivize a continued relationship

It’s inevitable that, at some point, your customer will end up with a product that’s not the right size, color, or style. If this happens, no need to despair! This doesn’t mean that your relationship with the customer is over. In fact, it can be an opportunity to cement their loyalty even further. 

How? Our favorite way to do this is to offer a bonus credit to customers who are willing to exchange a product. With this action, you’re saying to the customer: “hey, we really value your relationship. If you give us another chance to get the right product into your hands, we’ll give you an extra $10 to shop with as a gesture of thanks.” 

Not only is this very likely to incentivize the customer to opt for an exchange over a refund, but it can also enable upsells while they shop the catalog. It’s a great opportunity to capitalize on the continued relationship.

Prioritize simplicity > flexibility

It’s common sense that most customers are more likely to return to a brand after having a seamless experience - not a high-friction one. But this is especially true for men, who value on-demand and simple experiences (which is why they’re more likely to use their smartphones to make online purchases). So make sure this simplicity is reflected in your return policy as well. 

Here’s an example: when it comes to women’s apparel, we recommend creating a flexible, bucketed policy to account for the huge variability in sizing and the types of products sold. But for men’s apparel, which tends to see less variety in sizing and products, you likely don’t need one. Instead, focus on making your return policy as concise, clear, and straightforward as possible.

Similarly, make sure it’s super easy to go from your return policy straight into your automated returns process. For example, when you click on the “Returns” button at the footer of the Chubbies website, it goes straight to the brand’s automated returns portal (pictured below). These small tweaks will make a huge difference to the overall customer experience for your male shoppers and keep them coming back.

automated returns for mens apparel

Use your return policy to strengthen your men’s apparel brand

Men’s apparel is an exciting space to be in right now. By understanding the behaviors of your male shoppers, you can shape a top-notch return policy that will help your brand stand out in this competitive industry. Want to make returns and exchanges easy for your men’s apparel? Get in touch with our team, we can help you build a policy and process your customers will love.