I want to do the same. but need help regarding how to do this. I suppose the other alternative is to set a sample program where they agree to pay for the item up front and then they get refunded once they return it? Ideally would like to have them charged once they exceed the return time though, if anyone has any advise on this.
Thank you for getting in touch. It is possible to change your payment processing method to not immediately capture funds, and instead only authorize the charge when the customer checks out. This allows you to capture the funds at a later date. However, authorization windows do expire, and typically only last a few days—if you're using Shopify Payments, for example, then you are only able to capture the funds up to 7 days after the payment was authorized at checkout. This setting appears in Settings > Payment providers in the Shopify admin:
I do think that your suggestion re: a refund program would be better, as this would allow you the guarantee of receiving the payment at the time of the order and you would not have to worry about collecting the funds at a later date. You can clearly outline the details of this in your refund policy, and then easily refund orders via the Orders section of the admin if and when a customer is eligible to receive on.
Alternatively, you could opt to sell the product at a reduced fee—somewhat like a deposit—and collect a small payment when the customer initially places their order. Then, if they wish to keep it, you could create a draft order and invoice the customer to collect the rest of the payment. This would require you having confidence in the customer agreeing to pay the rest of the money if they opt to keep the product beyond the specified time period, and for you to decide what course of action you would take if they did not.
I hope this has better explained your options here, but please let me know if you have further questions.
Victor | Shopify Social Care