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Building a Shipping Returns Policy for Improved Business

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By Published On: August 16, 20220 Comments

Shipping Returns can become cumbersome and problematic if no preemptive actions are initiated for returns. Learn how ShipStation can solve this conundrum.

In a realm where ecommerce rules the purchasing domains, returns become an inevitable by-product of the entire process. Businesses that remain rigid and do not accommodate these returns are likely to lose customers rapidly. That being said, the returns policy must not overdo the requirement and allow multiple return pickups, resulting in unnecessary operational and financial challenges. The fine balance that gives customers the flexibility of easy returns and gives businesses affordable operational efficiency needs to be achieved. 

Did you know that in 2022 alone, 41 percent of Australian ecommerce consumers have returned at least one purchase? Clothes, shoes, accessories, and electronics are the most commonly returned categories of products. 

Returns are inevitable in the e-commerce world. So how do you handle it with ease and efficacy?

What Does the Law Say Regarding E-Commerce Return Policies? 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has clear guidance on how consumers can deal with any grievance in case products do not meet their expectations. If a product fails to meet the guarantee, consumers have the right to ask for a repair, replacement, or refund under the Australian Consumer Law. However, the remedy they are entitled to will be based on the intensity of the damage. 

As the Government has enabled norms and policies to protect the consumer’s interest and ensure fair trade, e-commerce sellers and businesses must comply with these standards and prepare for a scenario where replacements and returns are enabled as per law. 

Sometimes, a refund or return could also be initiated for no other reason than a customer changing their mind. While the Australian Consumer Law does not request sellers to guarantee a refund in this instance, many stores provide this benefit as goodwill. 

How Can a Returns Policy Boost Your Business?

Creating and publishing a compelling returns policy has a number of benefits for the future of an e-commerce business. 

There is a direct correlation with the increase in sales as customers are aware that they have an opportunity to return a product if they feel so at a later stage. New customers can also be attracted by this, as they would be willing to take the plunge and invest in something new if they have the choice of returning the product later.  

Having a return policy is a preemptive way for future problem-solving. It provides a guide for both the buyer and the seller on what, how, when, and where a return can be initiated. A poorly constructed return policy is likely to let customers abandon their carts and not finalize an order.  

The foremost goal is to build a trustworthy relationship with the customers through transparency. A clear and detailed returns policy that is documented on the website can help start this association as it provides the consumer with a sense of security. 

What are the Most Common Returns Policies that are Currently Utilised? 

Large establishments like Amazon and Woolworths provide their customers with a 30-day period in which a return can be initiated. Similarly, Coles offers a 28-period return period. Most large stores expect the original receipt or invoice to be provided when claiming a return. Most importantly, the products must be in an unused or unopened condition when being returned. 

Typically, sellers that deal with accessories, clothes, household goods, and packaged groceries have a shorter return window, ranging between seven to 14 days. Longer windows usually apply for products like furniture, electronics, appliances, and equipment that takes time to open, configure and verify.  

How can you create a successful return policy through ShipStation?

The single platform that ShipStation uses to monitor and track all orders and returns acts as a focal point for all information. ShipStation’s logistics partners like carriers, inventory management providers, fulfilment vendors, marketplaces, and ERP tools can be linked to the ShipStation platform. 

Within Australia, sellers can link their profiles in ShipStation to marketplaces like Amazon or eBay to receive orders and initiate returns. They can use SKUVault to manage their inventory and ShipRelay or ShipBob for their return fulfilment requirements. And finally, carriers like Australia Post can be partnered with for returns pick up. The entire process is automated, monitored, and easy to process. Explore the list of all ShipStation partners here

The seller’s returns policy can be integrated into this tool, for example, validating the return window, the type of product, and the reason before accepting a possible return. 

While sometimes, returns can fall into the complicated category, and sometimes, returns are made for no reason, the ShipStation platform can help centralise and simplify this cumbersome process. 

Time and money are of valuable essence in ShipStation’s return and outbound shipping solution. Register for a free, 30-day trial today to witness how ShipStation can enhance your business. 

The e-commerce landscape is changing. With a Power Retail Switched On membership, you get access to current e-commerce revenue and forecasting, traffic levels, average conversion rate, payment preferences and more!

About the Author: Power Retail

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