In order to attain or maintain competitive advantage, retail organizations must take particular care in establishing return policies.
In the United States, retail stores have to mention clearly their return policies in order to deal effectively with customers all over the world. Return policies can be defined as the conditions on which a retail store can take its product back and replace or return the product and refund the actual amount to customer. As most of the customers do not utilize the retail store return policies moderately and indulge in fraudulent activties with the company (Grannis, 2011). These policies assist the companies in increasing the competitive advantage over other retail stores in US. In this paper, the return policy is discussed through the example of one of the biggest multinational retail corporation in America that is Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has its chain of retail stores all over the world and its policies are designed to provide competitive advantage as well as avert customer’s fraud.
Retail stores develop their policies in order to facilitate valued customer and prevent the company from customer’s fraud. It is necessary for a retail store to build their customer network by providing them different products and services with appropriate return conditions (Lonyai, 2013). Most of the customers use retail stores like Wal-Mart in order to purchase products in bulk to save more because these stores provide discount and offer different packages on purchasing more than one product.
Return policies are designed to provide mental peace to the customer. It is necessary for retail stores to clearly mention their return policies on pamphlets and product manuals in order to avoid further complications (Price, 2012). Mostly, return policies provide different sort of favors to the customer such as, customers can return the product in a limited time provided by the company, exchange products with new ones (exchange with new models by paying some amount in addition), exchange product with other products (like return electronic item and exchange in terms of cloths, catering etc.).
These policies are also necessary in order to achieve and maintain customer loyalty with the store because customer has the authority to exchange or return the product without deduction of any penny (Grannis, 2011). Other than Wal-Mart, retail stores plan their policies to get competitive advantage among rival stores operating all over the world (Yarrow, 2012). Competitive advantage can be defined as the profit made by the company in comparison with other companies in the same business.
Some companies or retails organizations design their policies that provides profit only to the organization and customer has no other option rather than bearing a loss (Grannis, 2011). These policies include the “policy of exchange” in which customer has to chose the product from the available collection at the store, if customer does not want to select the product from the available collection, or company only provides the facility of exchange customer would have to bear the loss because of company’s policy (Yarrow, 2012). In short, retail organizations can lose their customers due to rigid policies.
On the other hand, flaws in return policy are also not in favor of retail organization and fraud customers can take advantage of these flaws (Lee, 2003). Customer knows the exchange policy of the organization is usually provided with the cash slip and customer can take advantage by keeping the key points in mind which are against the policy such as, customer return the product (cloths, cutlery electronic appliances, etc.) after using it badly (it means, company cannot make an objection on product return) in order to return or exchange it with new models available at store, or customer damage the product but the damage cannot be easily observed or customers knows its fault after dent and don’t want to expose it in order to avail the return policy.
The policies of retail outlets may be different from one another according to the nature of business. For example dressing suits cannot be return or exchange after utilizing it badly or after one wash in home or laundry, electronic items will not be return or exchange if product spoiled due to mistake of the customer, or electric shock, and improper utilization (Price, 2012). Different stores utilize policies that are in favor of customers in order to increase their sales. This strategy attract customers that retail organizations provide an appropriate return policy because customer knows that in case of misfortune or product fault retail organization will bear the loss (Grannis, 2011).
Retail organizations offer different return policies in order to improve their sales because customers pay the price and have all rights to return or exchange the product under some conditions. It is necessary for retail organizations to amend their policies in favor of customers because rigid policies may influence the business profitability of retail organizations.
Retail organizations should modify their policies also because some fraud customer can take the advantage of it. It should include some points or amendments in the policy that enhance the security of products and prevent it from customer fraud. Other retail stores should follow the policies of Wal-Mart in order to become successful in retail business.
Grannis, K., (2011). Return fraud to Cost Retailers $3.5 Billion This Holiday Season, According To NRF Survey. National Retail Federation. Retrieved from: http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1243
Lonyai, K., (2013). Serial returners are ruining the system for everyone. Business Insider. Retrieved from:http://www.businessinsider.com/changing-return-policies-of-retailers-2013-1
Price, K., (2012). Bamboozled: Retailers are monitoring your return habits. The Star Ledger. Retrieved from:http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2012/11/bamboozled_1.html
Yarrow, K., (2012). Why a Good Return Policy Is So Important for Retailers. Time Business & Money. Retrieved from:http://business.time.com/2012/09/04/why-a-good-return-policy-is-so-important-for-retailers/
Lee, J., (2003). Refund fraud and abuse. LP Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.lpportal.com/feature-articles/item/376-refund-fraud-and-abuse.html
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