Deploying a strong return solution comes down to more than just implementing industry-leading technology or developing efficient internal workflows. Customer experience needs to be front and center as well—a sentiment that athletic apparel retailer Lululemon clearly embraces. Garnering industry-wide respect for their customer-friendly policies, Lululemon is a prime example of how to do return and refund policies well.
Let’s break down the many facets of Lululemon’s return policy, and how they exceed consumer expectations.
One of the most notable features of Lululemon’s return policy is the retailer’s Fast Track refund option, which allows shoppers who are returning three or fewer new items to receive a refund via e-gift card within two hours of dropping their items off at a FedEx or USPS location, rather than waiting for the return to be received, processed, and approved at the warehouse.
This is a gold standard in refund offerings, since even a refund within 7 days is considered above average in our 2021 Returns Benchmarks Report.
(Editor’s note: a platform like Narvar can help a retailer enable faster refunds triggered by the carrier scan at drop-off like this and much more. For more information, schedule a demo with one of our experts.)
Lululemon also allows non-Fast Track online returns for buyers who would prefer a refund to their original form of payment or who are returning more than three items. Items purchased online can also be returned to the company’s retail outlets.
Lululemon gift cards and all items sold through the company’s 'We Made Too Much' sales are considered final sale items and cannot be returned.
Lululemon allows returns of unworn, unwashed merchandise with the hang-tags still intact up to 30 days post-purchase—a return window that can be considered roughly standard according to our Returns Benchmarks Report.
Swimwear purchases must also have the hygienic liners in place to be eligible for return, and all returned merchandise is subject to inspection upon receipt.
The return methods Lululemon makes available depend on the type of items purchased, the original place of purchase, and the number of items being returned.
Standard purchases can be returned online or in-store; customers requesting Fast Track refunds can only return their items via USPS and FedEx. Lululemon offers free return shipping—a step above 45% of omnichannel retailers that charge for it.
Shoppers who initiate returns of new merchandise through the company’s online returns portal are issued shipping labels that can be affixed to the return shipping bag or box and dropped off at any USPS or FedEx Ground (U.S. and Canada) location.
Customers wishing to receive a refund to their original form of payment or who are returning more than three items are advised to begin their returns on Lululemon’s online returns portal.
Clicking the ‘Return Items’ button on the form directs shoppers to either log into their Lululemon accounts or to look up their orders as a guest.
Lululemon gear purchased through the company’s North American ecommerce shopping sites can be returned in-person to North American retail outlets, though the company is not able to offer Paypal refunds to customers returning items in-store (refunds are only available by gift card, AMEX, Visa or MasterCard).
Finally, Lululemon makes phone lines and a live chat tool available through its Guest Education Centre to assist with return initiations and customer questions.
Lululemon’s return policy is highly visible, linked to in two places on its sitewide footer, with mentions in both the ‘My Account’ and ‘Help’ sections. Both of these links redirect visitors to a dedicated return policies page, which connects readers to additional information on return policies, online return initiation, refund policies, and return status lookups.
In addition, the company’s product description pages (PDPs) feature its free returns policy in both the site header and the shipping option selection menu.
Finally, like roughly half of omnichannel retailers, Lululemon enables returns through its branded online returns portal. These gateways make it easier to manage returns, enforcing rules around return windows, eligibility, and more. What’s more, they help provide greater visibility into the returns process, so retailers can understand and analyze their reverse logistics processes.
As a senior content manager at Narvar, Michelle has a finger on the pulse of the ecommerce industry. She's spent close to a decade helping online retailers make sense of their post-purchase processes.