When you’ve got an ecommerce business it is inevitable that you will eventually have to deal with a return or a refund. It is a bit of an odd situation with dropshipping, you can’t really ask your customer to send it back to the supplier as they will know you are dropshipping and where to get it for cheaper in the future. However don’t despair, we’ve dealt with this enough that we’ve got some information to make this easier for you!
First thing to keep in mind, think about the last time you had to return something, how did you feel as the customer? We’re in the business of making money and that means keeping customers happy.
Let’s start with Returns. If a customer reaches out and wants to return an item the first thing you’ll want to make sure is that it is in perfect quality. You can’t give them the suppliers address so we suggest giving your own or your offices, this will also make for a better customer experience. You can try to return it to your Aliexpress supplier but be prepared as many of them do not accept returns without some persistence.
You might be wondering what you’re supposed to do now with this extra stock? Well you’re lucky this has happened to us so many times we’ve got some ideas!
First you can use it for product photos. Think back to all those times you were cutting and editing the supplier’s photos, this is your chance to take your own! You can use this for your storefront, product images or even social media.
Second once you’ve taken some photos you can use this for a promotion or a giveaway! Focus on using it as an investment into your engagement. Run a promotion on Instagram or Facebook to boost traffic and hopefully bring in more sales that cover your loss.
Third, as long as you’ve made sure you only accepts returns in good condition you can just ship it to the next customer who purchases one. You’ll have to pay for the shipping yourself but then you won’t have to worry about sitting on even one piece of stock.
Now let’s cover Refunds. There are usually two reasons a customer will ask for a refund.
- Shipping was extremely long or never arrived
For shipping times you’ll want to make sure you clearly communicate and post the estimated shipping time. Remember to note it is business days, this could save you from having more refunds that necessary! If the order really is missing or extremely late you will want to issue a refund right away. Then you can work on figuring out what happened with the supplier and working on your refund from them for yourself.
- Customer unhappy about quality or choose wrong product
If the customer is unhappy you’re best to get them to return the item to you and issue a refund immediately. From here you can do as suggested before with the creative uses or simply return it yourself to the supplier.
Both returns and refunds can be reduced with a clear Returns and Refunds policy page. This is extremely important because one thing not noted is how difficult Aliexpress suppliers can be in dealing with when it comes to returns or refunds. They will insist on re-sending the product instead of offering a refund. If the item was broken or never arrived you’ll need to be extremely persistent and if that doesn’t work apply for the Aliexpress Buyer’s Safety Programme. Many suppliers do have a reputation and want your business so they will respond but be ready to be vigilante. Your customers don’t know your supplier so you can’t use that excuse. Make sure to take ownership and keep your customers happy.
Returns and refunds can be a nightmare and this is why in Oberlo Supply we actually embedded an option to ask for a refund on an order right in your Oberlo orders page. If there was a quality issue or something arrived broken you can submit your response and reasoning for it. If the supplier does not respond in 2-5 days our Supply Manager will jump in to the situation to make sure it gets resolved.
The best way to deal with returns and refunds is clear communication first. Ideally, your store should only have a refund rate of about 6-8%. They may not be fun but it is important to be well prepared as it will eventually happen. Make sure you’ve got a clear Returns and Refunds policy and then if a customer does send something back you’ll be ready to take the next steps. Remember, how you handle these situations can also turn an unhappy customer into one who feels supported and will remain loyal to your store.
What are your experiences with making the best out of refunds and returns? Please share!