Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has dropped the time it takes to give refunds to online store customers in half. This may encourage more consumers to buy directly from its website and lure people away from Amazon.com and Best Buy. Retail Intelligence company StellaService reports that customers that buy a product from Apple’s online store can get a refund in under a week compared to 10 days before. Apple is able to process refunds at a faster pace because it now uses an expedited service called FedEx 2Day, which lets customers ship returned items with prepaid labels to its warehouse in 3 days.
The improvement in refund processing times started in November, but it was assumed that this was a temporary measure for the holiday season, according to StellaService. StellaService orders items from Apple’s website several times per day for research purposes and discovered that packages were stamped with FedEx 2Day rather than a Newgistics prepaid label.
Customers will not incur any additional cost. “This is the first time we’re seeing an investment like this on the returns side,” stated Kevon Hills, StellaService’s vice president of research in an interview with Reuters.
Apple prides itself on customer service and prefers to control every aspect of its business. Generally, returns are viewed as a hidden cost and many e-commerce companies make this process difficult. Amazon.com offers instant refunds in some cases, but this adds fraud risks because some customers may not actually return the item. By trimming down the number of days that an item is in transit, Apple can offer a speedier refund.