Are you a small business owner? Looking for a place to sell your goods? Consider Amazon! If anything, it’s one of the most popular e-commerce platforms out there. What’s more, is that it’s super easy to use. All you have to do is create an account, list your items and wait for the purchases to come in. If you want, you can even get Amazon to fulfill the orders for you—that is, they’ll pick, pack, and ship the products on your behalf. You just need to do one thing—send your items to one of their many fulfillment centres. Do that, and your products will automatically qualify for Prime Shipping as well. Who knows, that in itself might increase your sales! After all, who can say no to speedy shipping?
The bottom line is—it’s a lot easier than running your own store, especially if you’re new to selling online.
Other Benefits of Selling on Amazon:
- Their sizeable audience means that your products will be visible to millions of users worldwide
- Reliable back-end support (you can easily track your inventory, process credit cards, etc.)
- Fees are only incurred upon selling—in other words, there are no regular fees that you have to pay
- You won’t have to worry about marketing as the site already has high traffic
How Do Returns Work on Amazon?
Let’s face it—people will return items. That’s just part of running a store. Given that, it only makes sense to familiarize yourself with the process. Here’s how it works.
According to Amazon’s policy, third party sellers must match or exceed the standards of the site’s return policy. In other words, customers can return any item within 30 days of the purchase date—regardless of its condition.
Why do they have such a policy? Because not everyone realizes that they’re buying from a third party seller—it’s not uncommon for someone to think that they’re buying from Amazon, when in reality, they’re buying from a third-party seller. Ultimately, this is why Amazon requires sellers to offer the exact same return policy as their storefront; they do not want third-party sellers to affect their reputation with negative experiences.
Responsibilities of a Third-Party Seller:
- Third-party sellers must provide a pre-paid return label with a return address within the U.S. or
- Offer a full refund without getting back the item
Always Listen To Your Customers
Not all customers will be ideal—there will be ones that are unreasonable or impossible to please! With that said, you never want that to affect your customer service. Remember, as long as you’re selling on Amazon, you have to adapt to their rules—that is, you want to make the customer happy.
Naturally, that means that you have to address all customer complaints. For instance, it’s your duty to issue a refund or replacement if something is wrong with the product. Never ignore a customer’s request as it can affect your standing with Amazon, which can ultimately lead to a suspension. As you can imagine, that will greatly impact your sales. Even if you manage to get your account reinstated, the damage will be done.
Common Reasons For Amazon Returns
There are many reasons why a customer might want to return a product. Here are some of the most common scenarios that you might run into.
Quality Issues With the Product
Customers want quality products. If the quality is up not to par, chances are, they will return it. After all, there are many alternatives to choose from on Amazon—they don’t have to stick with it if they don’t like it. Of course, the same thing applies to counterfeit goods. Trust me, customers will be able to tell the difference between real and fake items.
The Product is Damaged
As it is, it’s not uncommon for products to get damaged during the shipping process—this is why it’s so important to pack the items properly. If you don’t feel confident about your packing abilities, why not ship them to a fulfillment center? That way, you won’t have to worry about it as Amazon will take care of it for you.
Shipping Is Too Slow
Amazon prides themselves in their fast shipping. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that customers will cancel/return their orders if delivery takes too long. For instance, they might not have a need for the product anymore.
They Bought the Wrong Item
Every once in a while, you’ll run into someone who has bought the wrong product. This isn’t too surprising—after all, there are so many similar items on Amazon! Unfortunately, when this happens, it tends to result in a refund.
How to Decrease Your Amazon Return Rate
Don’t be too discouraged, though. While it’s true that returns can affect your profits, there are ways that you can decrease your return rate. Put it simply, there are things that you can do to decrease the likelihood of returns. We’ll be sharing some of them below.
1. Make Sure to Have Product Quality Control
Remember what we said earlier? Customers will return items if they’re not satisfied with the quality (obviously some will be pickier than others). At the end of the day, that’s why it’s so important to have good quality control. You wouldn’t want to spend money on shoddy products, so why would your customers? For instance, you wouldn’t want your items to have scratches, damage, incorrect designs, labels, etc.
2. Provide a Clear Description of the Product
It’s crucial that you provide a clear, detailed description of the product. Remember, your customers will not be able to “check out” the item beforehand—they will be relying on the information that you provide them with on the site. If anything, it will give them a better sense of what the product is like. Given that, you want to make sure that there is substance. Don’t include fluff; you want the description to provide value.
For instance, you might want to include the product’s dimensions, color options, materials used, warranty information, FAQs, instructions, and return policy. The goal is to be transparent about the product—let them know exactly what it’s like. In doing so, you’ll gain more trust from your customers.
3. Include Clear Images of the Product
Visuals are super important. If anything, that’s what your customers will be basing their decision on. Considering that, it only makes sense to include clear, high-quality images of the product that you’re selling. In other words, don’t snap a photo with your phone and call it a day. If possible, try to take an image with a professional camera. The last thing that you want to do is to include a blurry, pixelated photo to your listing. Trust me, that will not attract sales.
Not only do you want the photos to be clear, but you want to include different angles of the product—that way, your customers will know exactly what to expect. For example, it’s a good idea to include pictures of the front, back, bottom, top, and side. If you can, try to include a 360-degree view as well!
4. Include a Video of the Product
Nowadays, more and more sellers are including product videos in their listings—and for good reason. It’s a great way for you to appeal to your customers! Think of this way—you can use the video to highlight some of the product’s most appealing features. Not only that, but you can use it to provide your customers with a better look at the item. For instance, it might be a good idea to include a clip of the product from all angles.
5. Provide Product Dimensions in the Image
It’s a good idea to include the exact product dimensions in one of the images (ideally the primary one). After all, not everyone will read the blob of text that is the description. For instance, those who are visual tend to pay more attention to the images. Given that, you want to cover all your bases. By including the exact dimensions in the image, they’ll be less likely to be surprised by the item’s physical attributes, which can determine whether or not they will be returning the product.
6. Include Good Instructions
Consider adding instructions to your product description—this is especially important for items such as electronics. For instance, it might be a good idea to include assembly instructions. As you can imagine, someone would be much more likely to return a product if they can’t figure out how to put it together. You might also want to include information on what to do and what not to do with the product—that way, there will be a smaller chance that it will break, which will reduce the risk of a return. Remember, the key is to have everything clear and easy to understand.
7. Include a Handwritten Note
It’s important to personalize your customers’ orders. The last thing that you want is for your business to seem “detached.” One of the easiest ways to do this is to include a handwritten note with the product. If anything, it will show your customers that there is, indeed, a real person behind the company. As far as the actual content goes, there are a number of things that you can write. For example, you can use it as an opportunity to thank them for the purchase; let them know that they can contact you at any time if there is an issue with the product. After all, the more satisfied they are, the less likely they’ll send an item back.
8. Have a Live Chat System
Chances are, customers will have questions about a product that’s not addressed in the listing or description. Even if they do buy the item, there’s a high chance that they’ll return it. Why risk it when you can alleviate their anxieties in the first place? That’s right, your goal is to answer any questions they might have before they make the purchase.
When it comes to this, speed is key—you don’t want your customers to have to wait around for an answer. The solution? A live chat system. While Amazon doesn’t offer such a feature, you can set one up on your website and link to it on your listing. That will make you more accessible, which will boost their confidence when they’re buying an item.
9. Listen to Customer Feedback
It’s not always obvious why a customer has returned a product. After all, buyers can select an “unknown reason” option when they’re returning an item to Amazon. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to reach out to the customer—you want to find out why exactly they sent it back so that you can prevent it in the future. For instance, there might be a defect in the product that you were not aware of.