Monday, December 21, 2009

5 Best Practices for Handling Online Returns

5 Best Practices for Handling Online Returns

When it comes to allowing customers to return items, some online retailers and eBay sellers find it difficult to manage returns and accurately keep track of their inventory. Below are 5 Best Practices eBay sellers can use in order to increase customer satisfaction and reduce customer support inquiries around returning an item.

Best Practices:
  1. Clearly display the returns policy for buyers
    It can make a big difference in the buyer’s mind when contemplating which seller to purchase from. If a buyer is unsure about how an item will look, fit, etc…, then an easy and clearly displayed returns policy, can clinch the sale.
    *note: All eBay sellers are now required to specify a return policy and handling time when they list items on eBay. If the seller's return policy is not to accept returns, it must be specified in the Return Policy drop down menu.*

  2. Option of returning to a local store
    For multi-channel sellers with retail stores, customers may find it more convenient to return items at the store.

  3. Include return and pre-paid shipping label in the package
    Enclosing instructions on how to return an item along with a pre-paid shipping label reduces customer contacts while increasing customer satisfaction.

  4. Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA)
    Buyer contacts the seller and arranges to return items in order to have the item repaired, replaced or refunded. Seller will send a shipping label to the buyer with a specific number on the label for their shipping department. When the item is returned the seller’s shipping department can then accurately record the item’s receipt, evaluate and repair the item and potentially re-sell the item and account for the next sale.

  5. Keep customers in the loop
    Save customers the hassle having to contact the seller. Sellers can save time spent dealing with questions about returns by providing confirmation when items have been received, when replacement items are sent out, and when refunds have been processed.
  • Edit and update all listings to include current returns policy
  • Track and record returned items for accurate inventory management and profit and loss accounting
  • Easily create pre-paid shipping labels to include in package or email shipping label
  • Create and manage RMAs for larger sellers and their shipping departments
  • Automate buyer communication with confirmation of shipment emails

While some of the above best practices for handling returns require a change in the seller’s policy, most can be easily implemented with a solution from an eBay Certified Provider.

Certified Providers

ShipRush – shipping solution
ShipWorks – shipping solution
Infopia – listing solution with RMA feature
Kyozou – listing solution with RMA feature
Mercent - listing solution with RMA feature
Vendio - listing solution with buyer communication features to stay on top of returns

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