Whenever you sell an item online – you have to set proper policies that are aligned with your fulfillment method. This means that the buyer must know when is he going to receive his item, how will he pay and how long does he have to return it, if even possible. In this week’s article, we are going to analyze the recommended policies for some of the well-known suppliers.
Failing to deliver the goods as promised and on time will cause unwanted results.
This isn’t meant to scare you or anything, just to let you know how important it is to get this part right. Besides the damage that can be inflicted on your store like its rating – customers want to get their item in the exact way as they ordered it and if that won’t happen – expect nasty feedbacks.
The eBay business policies, for example, are shipping, payments, and returns. I am going to use eBay’s policies in this article, but the principles can be applied to any platform.
The shipping policy
In order to set the right shipping policy according to your source – you need to know what shipping methods your source works with, how long does it take until each item is shipped and how long it will take for it to get to its final destination – your buyer’s address.
For example, I have a store on eBay and I am sourcing from Amazon and I only use Amazon Prime eligible items. I know that they commit to 2-day shipping (although that’s not always the case), so most of the orders are shipped and their tracking numbers are being sent to me within a couple of days to upload and send to the buyer.
If you are drop shipping on eBay, you will probably want to opt for the Flat rate: same cost to all buyers. If you ask why it’s because you can’t offer local pick-up, you are probably not going to sell items over 150 lbs and the gap between calculated shipping on eBay to integration with the source is too far to bridge.
If you don’t know where it is, here the link to your eBay business policies page.
Now for the shipping service. on eBay, you can choose from a variety of economy/standard/expedited services from in or outside of the US (or the country in which you have your eBay store). With my Amazon Prime, I know most items will arrive within a day or two after they have shipped – but again, better to be safe than sorry, right?
Choose the right shipping service. Credit: freepik.com
The most common services for sources like Amazon are ‘Standard Shipping (1 to 5 business days)’ and ‘Expedited Shipping (1 to 3 business days)’. Some also go for the ‘Economy Shipping (1 to 10 business days)’, this will most likely guarantee all of your items will arrive on time, however, you will show the potential buyers a longer estimation for the delivery time, which might result in a lower conversion rate.
Because of common delays in a fair amount of my orders, I picked the handling time in my eBay store to be 3 business days. If I were to choose 1 or 2 days, all items that are late (meaning their tracking number is uploaded after that amount of days) will cause damage to my ‘Tracking uploaded on time and validated’ metric on eBay, and I obviously want to avoid that because it affects my store’s rating on eBay directly.
Unless you are already working with an international shipping program and received the right policies to place, do not select any. Also, keep the Shipping rate tables unmarked. Check your source to see if it offers the same shipping terms to Alaska & Hawaii and US Protectorates – in most cases, it will not. I excluded all domestic options and PO boxes.
The return policy
Returns take a very part of any e-commerce entity, drop shippers included. When you offer your buyers the chance to return if there’s something wrong with the item, you basically reassure them by saying that you take responsibility for the goods offered.
I was recently buying furniture for my offices in Miami and saw a shag rug that I fell in love with. I asked if they would allow me to return the rug and wave the restocking fee if I decided it didn’t look right with my office furniture. They were unwilling to accommodate my request, so I left the shag carpet on their showroom floor along with all the furniture I’d picked out. The same day I went down the street to another store and bought $40,000 worth of furniture and two shag rugs.
The lesson: Don’t let your return policies shag your sales.
Grant Cardone, International sales expert for entrepreneur.com
Now that eBay is improving their offered policies, 14-day returns will no longer be available. If you haven’t by now, you should check our eBay drop shipping 2018 update, talking about the changes.
After filling the name and description for the policy, you will have to decide if you are going to allow domestic returns, how long do your buyers have to contact (30 or 60 days), and who should pay for return shipping. If it’s the buyer, he will only have to pay for it himself if he changed his mind and there’s nothing actually wrong with the item. In cases where there’s a problem with the item, you will be the one paying for the return shipping.
Offering replacements can be tricky, due to the fact that if you will do the wise thing and wait for the return first before sending the replacement, it can go out of stock. You should not send it before actually receiving the return (or the refund from your source) if you want to protect yourself from potential losses.
If you already have integrated with an international shipping program, you can choose if you accept International returns. Those kinds of returns are trickier to handle and have a higher risk factor, you might want to consult with your shipping program first.
The payment policy
As most drop shippers use PayPal to collect payments, setting this policy shouldn’t take more than a minute. just add your PayPal account email address and you definitely want to check the ‘require immediate payment’, because you will need that money to fulfill each order straight away. This is the core attribute to any drop shipping scheme.
If you are not aware by now, eBay has decided to part ways with PayPal and gradually introduce Adyen as its main payment processor. We covered it in this PayPal Adyen eBay article so you should also check that out.
So, to conclude, before you hurry to create your policies and send all kinds of product to your potential buyers, make sure to fully understand your source’s methods of shipping and returns, and list only the items that are offering the same terms as you do to your buyers.
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- Shai is the editor of DSMagazine and our marketing expert. His eBay account is open since 2011, and he just moved out of Thailand after living there for 5 years to travel the world with his laptop. Also, he firmly believes in single-tasking. (P.S, He can speak Hebrew, English, and Thai!)