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

Women's apparel is highly competitive and can feel overwhelming with the number of product types your policy needs to cover.

Women's apparel return policy

Building a return policy for women’s apparel can feel overwhelming. Not only is it a highly competitive industry, but there’s also a wide range of products to account for. In this post, we will highlight a few ways that you can make your return policy as effective as possible.

Strengthening a women’s apparel return policy

Women report that sizing on clothes can feel random, which makes it no surprise why returns are so common in this industry.

Fit is the major obstacle to overcome to be successful. Structuring your return policy the right way will make shoppers more comfortable making a purchase, and help them get into the right size if they choose wrong.

Don't create a single policy that tries to cover all product types

Because most women's apparel brands have such a wide selection of products it becomes incredibly difficult to try and create a single policy that works across the entire brand.

A policy for bathing suits and underwear is going to be much more rigid than one for a pair of jeans or a dress. The same thing is true for items that are one size fits all compared to items that have multiple sizing dimensions.

A policy that tries to cover too many products is frustrating to customers, we recommend creating policy rules per product type.

Make your policy rules very clear

A customer should never be surprised to find out that a particular item is ineligible to be returned or does not qualify for a free exchange.

There are two great ways to make your policy rules as clear as possible:

  • Create a dedicated returns page. This is a page on your site that shoppers are able to navigate to that goes over the details of your return policy. The best return pages use simple language instead of complicated terms that only a lawyer can understand.

  • Relate your rules to product tags. Using product tags to create different rules allows customers to easily understand what products apply to which rules. Once a customer knows the tags rule they can apply that rule across your entire catalog.

Here is a great example from FIGS. They use product tags to clearly outline what types of products are not eligible for a return.

FIGS return policy example

Incentivize store credits and exchanges

The number of products sold within a women’s apparel brand presents challenges. But it also comes with opportunities since exchanges and store credits are more easily incentivized when customers have more options to choose from. This is a great way to retain more revenue and strengthen your relationship with customers. Here’s how:

  • Charge for return shipping. While we generally believe that returns should be free, there’s an exception to every rule. When a customer requests a refund, it means they’re not going to continue their relationship with your brand. At that point, it’s worth charging a small shipping fee to disincentivize customers from a return and opt in for an exchange instead. You can learn more about this approach in our blog post and take a look at how Modern Citizen incorporates this idea into their return policy.

Modern Citizen return policy example
  • Offer bonus credit. Loop also offers a bonus credit to customers who are willing to exchange a product. This bonus credit gives the customer additional purchasing power and, when paired with the disincentive of a shipping charge, makes for an even more powerful incentive to choose an exchange over a return.

Provide clarity on how long an exchange will take

The majority of exchanges in women's apparel are because the customer purchased the wrong size. They might now have the wrong size item and was looking to wear it to a party in 2 weeks. When they go to exchange it they will want to know if it will be exchanged in time.

We recommend that you include an answer to this question on your returns page and make it very easy to find, just like Summersalt does.

Summersalt return policy example

Use your return policy as a marketing asset

Most women believe that finding the right size is difficult online. Because a great fit is so important, 67% of shoppers end up checking your returns page before making a purchase.

This means that you can use your return policy to reduce the percieved risk of a purchase, and even increase your conversion rates. We have a full blog post on how you can turn your policy into your best marketing asset, but our number one tip for women's apparel is to provide a link to your policy on product pages.

reference under add to cart

Tecovas knows that shoppers want to know about their return policy before they make a purchase. That's why they put a link to their policy right below the add to cart button.

Build a comprehensive and unique women's apparel return policy

Crafting a return policy for women’s apparel is a unique challenge. However, with the guidelines we outlined above, you’ll be able to build one that’s all-encompassing without being yawn-inducing or frustrating for your customers. 

Want to make returns and exchanges easy for your women’s apparel? Get in touch with our team, we can help you build a policy and process your customers will love.