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Readers Respond: Return policy best practices

BY HBSDEALER Staff

"Marvin’s has a very customer-friendly return policy. If you buy something from us, you have the ability to return/exchange, repair or return/refund as long as you have a Marvin’s receipt. Right now, we do not have strict timelines established around returns (i.e., 30 days, 90 days, etc). We do require vendors to support our return policy as their customer, the same way we support our customers. We stand behind what we sell, and expect our suppliers to do the same. The easier we can make it to shop at Marvin’s for the customer — with obvious policies in place to protect us against abuse and fraud — the better our customers feel when they buy products from us. When we find issues of abuse, we address it accordingly, but for us, return abuse is the exception, not the rule. So we do not feel that crafting our return policies around the exception is a sound business practice, and it definitely would not make it easy for our customers.

“The mistakes that we have learned from over the years come mostly by learning from our fellow retailers. As they have tightened restrictions on product returns, it gives Marvin’s a marketing advantage, much like Costco practices with their customer-friendly return policy. It is far too easy to simply focus on the liability incurred by the occasional customer who abuses our liberal return policy. Some businesses have chosen to do exactly that, and in my opinion, they are at risk of losing sight of one crucial fact — that an easy return policy encourages far more customer confidence and loyalty, and thus, more profits, than an overly strict return policy can put on the bottom line.”
— Craig Cowart
President
Marvin’s Home Centers

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B.Bader says:
Jan-07-2011 09:56 pm

I totally agree with Craig in
I totally agree with Craig in keeping the focus on building customer loyalty through a customer-friendly return policy. The eye must be kept firmly on building the customer experience over time and can sometimes be built on a small jesture. As a vendor to "big box" stores, my concern is directed towards those few customers who abuse the "system". Store personnel appreciate that policies are quickly set aside by upper management, even when abuse is clear or a return/refund is not warranted. If they simply follow the written policy, they will not be supported, so they choose the easy road rather than the right road. Good enough, we all understand that it is in the retailers best interest to honor an unwarranted return, its sales over time not today that build the business. I GET IT. All we need is for that same retailer to treat it's vendors with the same care as they do their customer...we all need each other. If a retailer makes the decision to honor an unwarranted or unreasonable return/refund request, they should do so at their expense, not their vendor. Barry Bader

kclark says:
Jan-07-2011 07:59 pm

I was at Target the other day
I was at Target the other day returning a toy gift. My wife told me I could return it, even though I didn't have the receipt. The sign on the wall said: "CUSTOMERS MUST HAVE RECEIPT." So I became agitated. Sure enough, they exchanged it for store credit without the receipt. The above is a lesson in business, but I'm not sure what the lesson is.

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Unemployment rate slips to 9.4%

BY HBSDEALER Staff

 

The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 9.4% in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The government also reported non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality and in health care, but was little changed in other major industries, according to the Friday morning release. The retail trade showed a gain of 12,000 jobs in December, and it has risen by 495,000 since a recent low in September 2009.

 

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Home Depot’s Menear in line for award

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In recognition of his business and philanthropic achievements, The Home Depot’s executive VP merchandising, Craig Menear, will receive The Spirit of Life Award from City of Hope’s Hardware/Homebuilding Industry group. Menear will be honored Jan. 11, at a reception, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Fla., by colleagues and industry members. The day will begin with a golf tournament event that supports City of Hope’s lifesaving research, education and treatment programs for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Menear has nearly 30 years of experience in the retail and hardware home improvement industry. Since he joined The Home Depot in 1997, he has held various executive positions including senior VP merchandising of hardlines, merchandising VP hardware, merchandising VP of the Southwest Division and divisional merchandise manager of the Southwest Division. In addition, Menear is currently the chairman of The Home Depot Foundation’s board of directors.

“It’s an honor to receive this special recognition from City of Hope, an institution that helps patients everywhere who are facing serious diseases,” said Menear. “Our industry has been a tireless supporter of City of Hope’s efforts to cure and ultimately prevent cancer and other life-threatening diseases. I am honored to continue that tradition of support.”

Since it was founded in 1982, City of Hope’s Hardware/Homebuilding Industry has raised more than $140 million for lifesaving research, treatment and education programs. The group has grown to encompass a nationwide network of high-profile manufacturers, retailers, distributors, manufacturers’ representatives and related members.

 

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