It’s guaranteed! Returns, that is. Any business selling products online or offline WILL have some of their items returned by the customer.
The question is not whether there will be an item return or not.
The question is how many returns will there be.
How will you answer that question?
However, you CAN reduce the number of product returns by following some best business practices known as returns management.
Here are 5 tips on how to reduce the buyer’s reason to return items and, if you get some, how to handle returns.
1. Describe, describe, describe:
A nice accurate description will prevent a lot of future returns.
When buyers know what’s exactly that they’re buying, they make a better, educated decision and that keeps you from facing buyer remorse and as a result they don’t want to return items in the first place. Don’t just name your item and expect the buyer to know it inside out.
Although they can search it online and probably find the details but you will be better off giving the item details in your listings so you both cover your bases and keep the buyer on your listing.
Describe the benefits, features, materials, condition or any other attribute you think help the buyer make an educated buying decision. If it has to be a long description, so be it; that’s fine.
In fact, a detailed, accurate description is much better than a short description that leaves many things to say.
2. A picture is worth more than…:
With today’s technology, there’s absolutely not a good excuse to not include at least one photo in your listing. Buyers are less likely to return item when a good photo is included.
Both eBid and eCrater offer free photo uploads: 5 free photo uploads in eBid and unlimited photo uploads in eCrater. eBay offers one free photo upload now but starting July 1st they offer all 12 photos for free.
Also, you can have unlimited photos in your listing (in the description section) in both eBid and eBay if you host your photo somewhere else (e.g. flickr).
Another great feature that both eBay and eBid offer is that you can upload photos by specifying the photo’s URL and they fetch it and upload it for you.
You can always upload your own photos too.
Photo of the item serves two purposes: it’s a visual confirmation for buyers that this is the item they’re looking for and it covers your bases if a dispute is initiated.
Amazon lags behind other marketplaces in this regard as they don’t allow sellers to upload their own photos unless the seller is subscribed to an Amazon Store AND the listing was created by that seller.
3. My return policy is…:
Spell out your return policy. Make sure it’s not too restricting. Return policy should be reasonable for both seller and buyer.
Specifying return policy has helped me avoid a return when a buyer asked to return an item just because he changed his mind. When I pointed him to my return policy he decided not to return the item.
4. Set the delivery expectations right:
Let the buyer know what date range they can expect the delivery to happen before they buy. After the sale, ship the item as fast as possible, let them know the delivery date range and give them a tracking number.
By doing this you close the door to claims of “item received too late”.
5. What if a return happens anyway?
Try to be as generous as possible when it comes to return items.
It’s true that some products lose a lot of their value when the costumer used them such as software or electronics. So you need to set a return policy that is reasonable for both you and the buyer.
Having a return policy of “no returns” could make sense in some situations but, generally speaking, when the customer is assured if any problem occurs the seller stands behind their product with great customer service, you will have more return customers and your business profit will increase.
Try to not argue with the buyer too much and accept their return if at all possible. You will be rewarded for this.
Back to you
What’s your strategy to minimize returns? How do you handle product returns? Share your thoughts below and please remember to sign up for tips like this and also exclusive information for subscribers only.