Returns are as inevitable in ecommerce as taxes and death in ordinary life. They can happen for any of a number of reasons; wrong color, wrong size, changed minds—you name it. The key, particularly when you’re dealing with dropshipping larger items, such as when you open a furniture store, is having a good plan in place. Though it can be a bit tricky, handling dropshipping returns can be managed—with the following tips.
Know Your Shipper’s Process First
Odds are they’ve been around a lot longer than you and are pretty set in their ways. It’s going to be unreasonable to expect them to adapt to you, so you’re going to have to learn their procedures. This is the best way to minimize headaches.
For example, it doesn’t make sense to offer customers a 45-day return policy if you know your shipper will only grant 30. Instead, you should make your policy fall inside the parameters of theirs. If they offer 30 days, you should offer 15 to make sure you have time to get things corrected.
Similarly, offering unconditional returns is a wonderful sales tool; but if your vendor doesn’t concur, you could wind up holding onto a lot of returned goods—with no recourse. Make sure your policies match theirs. Take careful note of their procedures for accepting returns and be careful to make your instructions to your customers adhere to those parameters.
The Customer Is Always Right—Even When They Aren’t
The ultimate goal of any business should be to grow. This is just as true whether you open a furniture store or sell cosmetics using a platform like those provided by Shopify. One of the best ways to foster growth is make every effort to ensure your customers’ happiness.
This can sometimes mean biting the bullet and accepting a return when you really don’t want to do so. When a customer comes to you with an issue, do not mention your supplier—take ownership of the situation and fix it.
Remember, the whole point of dropshipping is to make it look like the customer is dealing directly with you. Along with the benefits of that strategy comes responsibilities.
Keep Your Shipper on Your Side
Even when you know without question they screwed up, unleashing an emotional tirade will be counterproductive when it comes to righting the situation. You need the vendor just as much as they need you. Regardless of the circumstance, treat them as the partner they are and work with them to find a solution.
With that said, if you’re constantly correcting misalignments, it might be time to find a new partner. But even then, don’t burn the bridge on your way out. You’ll never know when you’ll need them again.
Be Ready to Cut Your Losses
Let’s say your customer wants to return a very inexpensive item. Something that would cost more to handle than it would to just send them a replacement. In those instances, it might be best (on a case-by-case basis) to just let the customer keep the cheap item and send them another one at no charge. If simply replacing it would impose a smaller loss, that’s usually the smart play.
These five tips for handling dropshipping returns will help you keep your customer happy, while maintaining the quality of your relationship with the vendor.
Both are instrumental to the continued growth of your business.