5 Tips for Managing Product Returns

January 7th, 2020 Comments off

The busy holiday season is over, and now you can sit back and relax, right?

Well, not exactly. Your business is still doing business, and along with normal operations that you have to manage on a daily basis, you’ll probably have to deal with items that customers are returning for exchanges or refunds.

Here are five tips that will help you to manage returns as efficiently as possible, keep your customers happy, and learn tips for even great success next holiday season.

1. Create a returns portal on your website

Good customer service includes making it easy for customers to return items. After all, if you do your best to give your customers what they want, they’re likely to continue to give you their business. A clearly marked and easily accessible returns portal on your website helps facilitate a smooth and easy returns process. If a customer is returning an item, they may already feel a certain level of frustration or disappointment, and a complicated return process only exacerbates the situation. Your customers will appreciate a quick, simple solution for returns.

2. Clearly state your return policy

This is beneficial for both you and your customers. Let them know exactly what to expect in terms of deadlines, refunds, exchanges, etc. Much confusion and frustration can be avoided if your terms are clearly spelled out. Post clear, easy-to-understand policies on a page of your site that is specifically designated for returns and/or shipping policies.

3. Provide tracking for your returns

You should consider it part of your responsibility as an e-commerce retailer to keep your customers informed regarding the status of their packages. It’s a good policy to send an email when their return is scanned at the post office or when you receive the package. This also makes it easier for your staff, as return tracking information can help alleviate the number of calls coming into your customer support team. Customers can see clearly where their package is in the shipping process and when they can expect it to arrive.

4. Know the cost of returns

As a retailer, you’re concerned with customer satisfaction. But you also have to keep an eye on the bottom line. So it’s important to know how much a return is costing your business—in both dollars and work hours. This includes the cost of shipping itself, customer service calls, restocking, etc. If you do all the calculations and find that it costs as much or nearly as much to return the item as it would to simply purchase another one wholesale, consider letting the customer keep it instead.

5. Learn from your returns

Each time an item is returned, use it as an opportunity to learn something about your customers and products. What items are returned and why? Could it be a sign of a bigger problem, such as inaccurate product descriptions, low-quality merchandise, poor customer service, or something else? Learn from your returns, and make needed changes to reduce the number of returns in the future.

Remember, returns don’t always equal failure on your part. It’s just part of doing business. Keep this aspect of your customer service as positive and convenient as possible and learn from your returns. If you do, you’ll find that your customers—even those who have returned something—will be back again.

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping Tags:

2020 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide

December 28th, 2019 Comments off

Starting January 26, 2020, the USPS will implement new rates for domestic and international mail classes as well as its Special Services. Want to learn more about these changes and how they may impact your mailing and shipping? We’ve created a new guide for our customers detailing the USPS rate and service change for each mail class. This Postage Rate Increase Guide includes side-by-side rate comparisons so you know how much you’ll pay on and after January 26, whether you pay retail rates or discounted Stamps.com rates. This guide also includes general shipping suggestions and a Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer any questions you might have about this rate increase.

This guide includes 2020 postage rates for:

Categories: Free Guides Tags:

New Tax ID Requirements for Shipping to Brazil

December 23rd, 2019 Comments off

Beginning January 1, 2020, all shipments to Brazil must include the recipient’s Tax ID number on both the customs declarations and shipping labels. Brazil is implementing this new requirement to help ensure taxes are collected from resellers who purchase U.S. goods and resell them within Brazil at a profit. If you are selling to customers in Brazil it is essential that you collect their Tax ID at the time of sell—shipments missing the recipient’s Tax ID will be subject to return, or even disposal, by Brazilian Customs.

Shipping and Customs Requirements

Regardless of mail class, the recipient’s Tax ID must be visible on the shipping label and declared within the appropriate customs form. There are several Tax IDs that can be used when shipping to Brazil, including:

  • CPF – Individual Tax ID (format: 000.000.000-00)
  • CNPJ – Business Tax ID (format: 00.000.000/0000-00)
  • Passport Number

Shipping to Brazil with Stamps.com Online

If you are a Stamps.com customer, adding a Tax ID to your Brazilian shipment is simple. Typically when shipping to an individual in Brazil, the company field is left blank:

You can use this field to enter your recipient’s Tax ID. We recommend using the prefix “CPF-” to indicate that you are using an Individual Tax ID.

If you are shipping to a business, enter the customer’s Business Tax ID, followed by a slash and their business name.

Shipping to Brazil with Stamps.com Windows Software

If you use the Stamps.com Windows software the process of adding a Tax ID to your shipment is just as easy. Within the International Tab of the software simply include the recipient’s Tax ID in the Delivery Address field under the recipient’s name.

For Individual Tax IDs use the format “CPF-” followed by the ID number:

For Businesses enter the customer’s Business Tax ID, followed by a slash and their business name:

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

USPS International Weight Limits

November 15th, 2019 Comments off

Are you planning to ship gifts internationally this holiday season? You should know that USPS weight limits vary by mail class and destination country.

To ensure that your holiday packages are mailable check out the table below— you can determine how much your international package or letter can weigh by mail class and destination:

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Finding Profits At Estate Sales Part III: The Office

November 8th, 2019 Comments off

Parts one and two of this multi-part series focused on the kitchen and garage.  Next stop?  The office!  You can pretend you’re a pirate looking for buried treasure as you enter the office of almost any estate sale.

Chairs

The first item you should look for is chairs.  Chairs made by companies like Herman Miller and Stressless are incredibly popular.  Herman Miller makes highly adjustable office chairs that are pricey when purchased new.  Stressless makes recliners that sell for thousands at retail.  (Look for the Stressless logo on the round adjuster knob.)  You can purchase these comfort chairs for $50-$100 at estate sales and sell them for $500-$600 online. 

Note: Since chairs are large and heavy, list them as local pickup only.  People who are interested in these brands will often drive long distances to pick them up.   

Pens

Next, be on the lookout for expensive ballpoint and fountain pens.  Brands such as Cross, Parker, and Montblanc are always in demand.

Vintage Stereo Equipment

Many Americans love listening to music as they work.  Vintage stereo equipment is a common sight in the office area of the typical estate sale.  Recently, a friend purchased a Sansui 9090DB AM/FM receiver for $30.  Since it was valuable, he had it refurbished at the local stereo shop.  He sold it for $950 to a dealer who drove 400 miles to pick it up!  (Ironically, the dealer didn’t care if it was refurbished because he has his employees inspect and improve the items he finds before selling them to his customers in Asia.)

Paperweights

In addition, keep your eyes peeled for signed paperweights.  It is not uncommon to find high-end paperweights in the office area of an estate sale.  Orient and Flume, for example, is a Northern California company that makes pieces that are highly collectible.

Office Supplies

The office is also a great place to stock up on supplies!  Running a business can get expensive, and estate sales are fantastic places to purchase paper, envelopes, labels, and tape for almost nothing.

Stamps

Finally, be on the lookout for stamp collections.  A few years ago, we bought a box full of random stamps for $5.  The stamps weren’t collectibles, but they were worth about $250 at the post office.  We didn’t have to buy stamps for a long time!

So the next time you’re out and about looking for buried treasure at an estate sale, check out the office, mate!  You won’t regret it! 

About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

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