Brand Partners
0 min read

How to Refund Gifts in a Couple Clicks (With Zero Headaches)

January 31, 2024
How to Refund Gifts in a Couple Clicks (With Zero Headaches)

When you wheel and deal in online goods, one thing is bound to happen: refunds. For classic ecommerce stores, it’s not uncommon to see return rates of 20% to 30%, adding up to more than $800 billion in costs in the US alone. Shipping, packaging, processing returns, manual restocking labor — woof, the costs add up when online shopping doesn’t pan out.

This trend isn’t a budding phenomenon, though. Inevitably, as more stuff is bought online, the more stuff is going to be returned and refunded. Whether someone’s purchase was broken, didn’t quite fit, didn’t meet expectations, or was a way for them to try on copious outfits and send back the rest (a behavior called bracketing), returns are now just a fact of ecommerce life. 

Just like your standard ecommerce consumer, gifts are just as likely to be returned or refunded for these reasons.

These same issues also exist in the glamorous world of gifting. Like everything else that’s ordered and shipped, traversing the nation (and the unknown), gifts can arrive damaged. They can be stolen, not match expectations, or be the wrong item entirely. Luckily, our squad wasn’t born yesterday, and refunds were on our radar when building the platform. 

Odds are good that, eventually, you’ll have to issue a refund for gifts if Zest is part of your ecommerce stack. Here’s how to follow through with refunds lickety split (and why a speedy refund matters). 

Speedy Refunds Ratchet up Experiences and Stoke Customer Loyalty

The post-purchase experience always has a lot riding on it (you could even say it’s more important than all the rigamarole happening before the deal is sealed). Whether someone is coming to your brand to shop for themselves or others, what happens after checkout can make or break whether they ever come back. 

When it comes to selling your goods as gifts, though, there may even be a bit more at stake. Giving a gift is an inherently personal act. And 10 times out of 10, the gifter expects the gift-giving experience to go flawlessly. Even the teensiest missteps can tarnish the gifting experience and rub the shine off of the gesture. 

When that happens, your brand risks losing not just the gifter as a customer but also everyone on the receiving end of your products. For many people, receiving your item as a gift may be their first interaction with your brand. Should something be wrong with the product or delivery and your company is unwilling to fix it, odds are good they’ll never come scrolling through your digital doors to shop on their own.

Sure, a bad gifting experience throws off the vibes, but there’s actual money at stake, too. More than half of consumers say they’d spend more at a store if they knew they’d receive a refund quickly should anything go wrong, proving that even a little reassurance can go a long way for your bottom line. When the experience is rocky, 89% of consumers say they’re less likely to buy from that retailer again

Contrast this with the fact that 97% of consumers are more likely to buy again after a positive experience, and it’s clear that an efficient refund or returns process is well worth your time and attention.

In a nutshell, people who come to your store as their gift-giving destination are putting a heckuva lot of trust in your company. So, when something goes off the rails, finding a solution ASAP is critical.

Refund Gifts (and Keep Customers Happy)

The returns and refunds process can take on a variety of shapes when it comes to your classic ecommerce store. Typically, companies offer a variety of options for someone who isn’t 100% satisfied with their order.

However, it’s not uncommon for the entire process to span days or weeks from the initial refund request from the customer. There can be many hoops to jump through, approvals to be had, and time to get goods from one place to another. A customer who is making the request on their own behalf may be willing to sit through the waiting game, but when this type of delay is forced on their gift recipient, patience tends to go out the window.

A simple refund process that took 3 whole weeks! What a drag.

When you’re offering your products as one-to-one gifts for consumers or one-to-many gifts for corporate clients, we suggest considering a refund and returns process with options and tech that can streamline the experience. 

  • Offer a refund for any gifts that arrived damaged, defective, or don’t meet expectations.
  • Offer an exchange or replacement for any gifts or parts of gifts that aren’t up to snuff.
  • Use a platform that’s made to reduce returns by letting gift recipients choose their preferred size, color, etc., so they’re guaranteed to pick a gift that fits them best.
  • Use a dynamic approach that lets you easily refund e-gifts that aren’t redeemed by recipients. 

Employing a returns process that’s nimble and aided by the right tech can have you refunding gifts with ease. This not only takes a load off of your operational burden and costs, but it gives your customers the peace of mind they need to come back and gift again. 

When you partner with Zest to power your gifting, you get baked-in tools to help you expedite the refund process and build on a best-in-class customer experience. To get the scoop on how to do All The Refunds your gifters may need, head to your Zest Partners account and follow along.

How to Refund Outstanding Gifts

There are times when your customers may send gifts to tons of lucky recipients. The holidays, company celebrations, and large team milestones are often cause for someone to dole out goodies to dozens or thousands of people in one fell swoop.

Gift acceptance rates — especially for thoughtful, intentional gifts — are typically above 80% for large groups. When there’s a handful of people who, for whatever reason, aren’t accepting their Zest e-gift, it’s a good idea to refund those outstanding gifts. Your customer doesn’t want to be left paying for gifts that were never sent, so a refund here means establishing trust and loyalty for the long haul. 

Once you’re in your Zest Partners account, navigate to your customer’s gift order from the Orders tab. Click the Actions dropdown in the top right corner of the window and select Refund Outstanding Gifts. 

Confirm this choice, and this refund is complete! Your customer will receive a refund for any gifts that went unclaimed, leaving them with more money to come back and gift again.

Refund Entire Gift Orders

Other times, entire gift orders may need to be refunded. Whether the wrong gifts were shipped out to every recipient, there was a grotesque printing error on every gift note, or the whole shipment clogged a canal and never arrived, a total refund may be the best course of action in some cases. 

Head to the same dropdown menu as above, but this time around, select Refund Entire Order. Your customer will be swiftly sent the amount they paid for the whole gift order, but remember: These gifts will probably languish in your Shopify account forever if you don’t take action, so remember to cancel these orders in Shopify as well. 

Refund Specific Recipients in an Order

Most often, gift orders go off without a hitch. Recipients accept their gifts, shipments go smoothly, and everyone rejoices. However, if one person happens to receive a bad batch of somethin’ (or not receive their gift at all), you can always go into the order, select that specific recipient, and send your customer a refund for that item.

To do this, scroll to the (unlucky) recipient, click the checkbox, and smash the Refund Selected button.

Similar to refunding an entire order, you’ll also have to head into your Shopify account and cancel this gift if it’s an active order. If you need to send a replacement, this is also a great time to do that. 

E-gifting is still a bit of the wild west, and you never know which scenarios you, your customers, and their recipients will encounter. With these flexible gift refunding options, though, you’re able to handle any situation with ease. 

The Most Important Part of Refunds: Communicate!

No matter what’s happening, keeping gifters and gift recipients in the loop is key. A little bit of communication can go a long way in assuaging stress, dampening frustration, and making brand fans out of an unfortunate situation. 

When you can nail the trifecta of excellent gift choices, swift customer support, and stellar communication, your store will become the go-to for gifters across the nation. 

Liz Lorge
Liz Lorge
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