Monday 28 March 2016

Sellers, etailers’ opposing views on returns policy; Ebay has a solution?

IndianOnlineSeller has time and again shared online seller’s plight with regard to ecommerce marketplaces’ unfair returns policies.
We published how a ‘no questions asked’ return policy is breaking sellers’ back, their woes in detail, and a seller’s open letter.
The best possible solution to this problem was if ecommerce leaders understand sellers’ point of view and tweak the return policies accordingly. But it seems that online players would much rather look the other way.
Read on to know why.

Etailers latched onto ‘easy returns’ to gain market share

There was a time not too long ago when heavy discounts were the only bait online marketplaces could offer buyers. It worked for a while until investors started asking ‘where are the profits?’ and the valuations dropped.
Then ecommerce players decided to move away from a discount driven model. Launching online-only products, sponsorships and on-boarding sellers are few of the strategies they implanted to get rid of discounts. But ‘easy returns’ remains the biggest bait etailers have latched onto to increase their market share. Latest TVCs of Amazon, Flipkart are a proof of it.
And etailers believe all is good or not that bad in spite of what sellers claim.
“We work together to create the market. But sellers have to appreciate we get them 100 million visitors (that’s about four times the population of Delhi NCR) — which can never happen in a retail store. Besides, it’s not that every product sold is returned and merchants don’t always have to pay for returns,” affirmedSandeep Aggarwal, founder of online marketplace, Shopclues.

Sellers wonder why at the cost of their business?

Customer friendly policies worked for ecommerce biggies, but sellers listed on them are fuming over it.
“This (negative) marketing is hurting us. I didn’t commit that smartphone I sell can be returned in 30 days. But to be a seller online, I have to stick to their terms. It’s hurting my business. I (often) get back a used product and also pay for the reverse logistics,” said an online seller Madhur Goyal.

Meanwhile, eBay is testing new returns policy to benefit sellers

The company has started trials of a new returns policy in the US & UK market, which aims to make sellers’ life a bit easier.
According to the revised policy, a seller can decide if he/she wants to give full refund, reimburse the shipping amount, charge buyers for return shipping, charge buyers restocking fee and not initiate refund if the returned item is not one that was dispatched.
These terms and conditions will surely help sellers to control the menace that ‘easy returns’ has become. Perhaps it’s time Indian etailers too alter their return policies and convince merchants that selling online wasn’t a wrong decision.

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