Well, 2011 is by and gone just a mere 10 days ago. For online merchants, the holiday buying frenzy leading up to the winter holidays—including Black Friday and Cyber Monday—are usually received with welcome arms. The downside?…Returns and exchanges. Although a “must-have” for many online retailers, designing a policy which protects you legally and provides your customers with both peace of mind and confidence and will also keep them coming to your site time and time again does not have to be a chore. With a new year upon us and the post-holiday return wave nearly at an end, there is no better time than right now to review your policy and return/exchange process to see if there can be any adjustments for the benefit of either or both parties (that’s you AND your customers!). Here are a few guidelines to get you started:
1) Cover All Your Bases: Typical return scenarios you should have defined and covered are: a) Return conditions (i.e. qualifying conditions and exceptions, if applicable) and b) Maximum timeframe acceptable for submitting a return claim (is it 7 days, 30 days, 90 days from receipt of the merchandise? Note that this is entirely at the merchant’s discretion, however, consumers are very used to seeing 30 days as a standard).
2) Use an RMA as Your “C.Y.A” (as in protect your hind side) Tool: Return Merchandise Authorization forms are a very useful tool. It is a double-edged sword that improves administrative process and information exchange and staves off potential fraudulent claims. There are hundreds of templates which can be modified for your particular use. For merchants using drop ship organizations or other third party vendor/fulfillment resource, start the discussion with your rep/point of contact or consultant to determine what can be done to institute an RMA mechanism into your return process.
3) Include a Disclaimer Notice: Unless you are both manufacturer and online retailer, the Disclaimer (or Waiver of Liability) is your saving grace should merchandise offered on your site do not live up to their claim as advertised, or at the more severe extreme, malfunction and cause damage or injury.
4) Lay It All Out…Simply. Recall at the beginning of this blog post, we are advising merchants to review their return process; well here’s where you get to show it off and shine! Don’t expect customers to have to think and “hunt” for what steps to follow for processing a return claim. Spell out in a clear and decisive series of steps (however short or long) and make sure you reiterate any notes and/or exceptions. If applicable, add your Customer Service contact email and phone number to direct questions.
There are many more guidelines, however, the criteria listed above serve to cover the absolute essentials that are applicable to all types of retailers and categories of merchandise. Add or modify as necessary, but ensure you have these 4 essentials included in your policy and you should be well on your way to paving a smooth “road” for returns processing in a manner that gives your site credibility, covers your business legally and provides a clear reference for your customers to follow should a return claim fall into play. For more information, check out this link: http://www.ecommerce-guide.com/article.php/3939751.
Bill 1st is positioned to satisfy your entire e-commerce needs in the marketplace and offers a wide variety of products and services in order to ensure your business objectives and goals are accommodated no matter what your desired level of engagement and partnership. Find out more on how we can help you at www.Bill1st.com.
Here’s to a prosperous ecommerce new year!
The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show opens today at 10 a.m. and continues thru Friday. According to the CES website, this year allegedly marks the last year tech behemoth Microsoft will be participating in this conference. Suprisingly, Apple—which has not had presence at this annual event—will be attending this year. To give you an idea of the CES’s popularity CES boasts the participation of 2,700 companies this year, and its attendance is expected to surpass 140,000. That’s quite a following. For more information on this event and conference schedule, check out this link: http://www.cesweb.org/conferenceProgram/sessions.htm.
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