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Quick Tips for Hassle Free Online Returns

December 27, 2010

The Holiday season rush is over and now it's time for post-holiday returns and exchanges. Every year around this time Shipwire puts together a list of tips and tricks for your "return policy" on your website and a quick review of how to manage returns to your Shipwire inventory.

How should returns be handled? If you want to keep your customers happy and knocking on your virtual door, a hassle-free returns policy is the always the way to go.

What do Your Customers Want?

Most customers say the hassle of returning products purchased online is a big turnoff, predictably resulting in fewer online purchases. Clearly, online retailers that make it easier and less costly for customers to return their products have a distinct advantage over their competitors — specifically, advantages in customer loyalty, higher sales and increased revenue.

Shipwire knows this and this is why we have built an easy return mechanism for you.

It's also a good idea to make a return policy very accessible and very clear to customers. Ensure it is front-and-center with a link to the policy during checkout, and clearly spell out any return restrictions, including how long a customer has to return an item, and any restocking fees. Finally, make it easier logistically for customers to return merchandise. Include return instructions and a return address label with each shipment. Online retailers may consider even picking up the cost for return shipping. Customers will appreciate such generosity.

Tips for easy returns with Shipwire

Be sure that you have clearly listed your return policy on your website. Ensure that your customers know not to send back the merchandise without generating an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization).

Tip #1: Double check your return policy. Is it in line with what you want your buyers to actually do?

Tip #2: If the product is unopened , send it back to the warehouse. If it is opened, have it sent to your warehouse or office. Use the Shipwire warehouse to restock unopened returns. If you need to review an item and make a "subjective call" on whether it can be restocked or not; you should review it personally.   If you can then resell the product, ship it back to Shipwire if you want us to stock it. Alternative, use the Shipwire Anywhere order management service to route orders to your returns inventory.

Tip #3: Be generous with your buyers about their returns. For example, if the return shipping is close to the value of the product, give it to them and ask the customer to tell 10 of his/her friends how nice you were. That kind of word of mouth marketing will be worth 10 times the value of the product!

Tip #4: Use a shipping method where the carrier gives you a tracking number for any returns to your office or your warehouse. We will ask you for one of these if you are sending it back to the warehouse, as we need to know when to expect it. We also recommend it for any shipment because it can short-circuit many conversations about lost packages. This is a classic example of when it makes sense to spend the extra couple bucks.

Lets take a look at what Shipwire does to make returns processing easier.

How do I manage returns to Shipwire?

This section assumes you have a Shipwire account.   For any order that you want to generate an RMA:

1) Log in to Shipwire Account and enter the order number in the search box at the top, go to that order.
2) Click on “Report a Problem or Return” (underneath order status on top box of page)
3) Choose the delivery problem with your order and follow the steps relating to your specific order.

If your customer is sending merchandise back to the warehouse, Shipwire will automatically generate an RMA (Return Materials Authorization) label, which MUST be placed on the return. This will ensure that Shipwire can quickly add it back to inventory. It also keeps the inventory counts correct. For example, if somebody ordered a Large; but, got a Small t-shirt; then you would tell Shipwire this was a "cross-shipment" (wrong product). If the right product got there, it just needs to be returned, we handle the inventory are replacement product shipment different.

The reason we have created these steps is because the warehouse team does not know if a package is being returned unless it is reported by you. It is similar in the fact that you may not know a package is being returned unless it is reported by your customer. When you report the return and enter in tracking, this process provides documentation to the warehouse to expect the return to come back and to receive against it. It helps you track the item once it has been delivered and placed back into inventory. We also adjust your inventory correctly as well as address these issues with the warehouse team.

Do you have any tips?

Please feel free to write any holiday return tips, tricks or stories in the comment section. Give yourself a backlink from our blog when it gets approved.

Jeremy Rudolph