Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What eBay Sellers Should Think About When Developing a Returns Policy by Doba

Blog post taken from Doba's Dropshipping Blog

No retail strategy would be complete without a customer service and return policy. Retailers take very different approaches to this, and the successful ones often incorporate their policies directly into their branding. Nordstrom, for example, is famous for its extremely liberal return policy, while a big box retailer such as Best Buy may have very restrictive policies.

More important than the policy, is the transparency and communication of your return restrictions and service options. Learn and understand first-hand the process and impact an eBay seller’s policy (or lack there of) has on their business and how that translates into a likelihood of success or failure.

There are many aspects eBay Sellers need to consider when creating and implementing a return policy. For many, the best place to start is to look at your own expectations as a consumer and choose merchandise, suppliers and marketplaces that match up with your own personal philosophy. Others should take a more pragmatic approach. The category (electronics versus clothing), the marketplace (your website versus eBay/Amazon) and your product pricing strategy all affect a return policy in different ways.

When an eBay seller considers the cost of returns, do not overlook shipping. One of the largest shortcomings of ecommerce is the cost associated with shipping. Shipping is a fixed cost that is absorbed by the supplier, retailer, or consumer in every return. It is not margin nor lost time, but a payment to a carrier that must be paid regardless of the reason for the return (with the exception of carrier-related damage). Be mindful of the cost of the goods themselves versus the costs of shipping. In many cases, you will be better off to ask for forgiveness of the customer, let them keep the return, and give them a refund instead of eating three shipping charges on a replacement. Again, this is a retailer policy issue and only you can create the strategy that will work best for your business.

In the end, your customer support and return policies should communicate clearly to the consumer what they can expect when purchasing from you. It’s important to take control and own your customer’s experience and understand your decisions need to be acceptable to your business independent of the shortcomings of suppliers, marketplaces, and even overly demanding customers.

This article has been condensed. Read the full article here.

Doba is a product sourcing company connecting eBay sellers and small online retailers with drop ship distributors, manufacturers and wholesalers. Doba is a member of the Better Business Bureau and has been an eBay Certified Service Provider since 2004.

1 comment:

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