What do customers love about Amazon? Being quick and customer friendly. Not only while selling, but also when processing the returns of purchased goods. The American giant has built its power on the policy of being on the customers’ side. The “putting the customers first” principle is not an empty slogan here, but a sales philosophy. But who bears the costs of it?
It is hard to implement such a rule to work across the whole system as you have to be able to enforce it. Not by force and restrictions, but by encouragement. You have to create such conditions for the sellers that it is profitable for them to act in line with your philosophy. Amazon has mastered this soft power, which lies in the ability to attract and persuade, to perfection.
Return? No problem!
There are many websites which discourage you from returning goods in more or less obvious ways. High costs, the necessity to give a reason, a long waiting period for confirmation that the goods have been returned and a delayed refund. Customers who experienced this complicated procedure once will think twice before trying to return something again. They will also think twice before purchasing in such a store again. The lessons learned from this situation were used by Amazon to transform returns, usually making you feel like you have a ball and chain around your leg, into one of the pillars of its success.
At Amazon, the purchased goods are returned quickly and easily. Returns support puts customers’ best interest at the forefront in the same way as during purchasing. No wonder that customers keep coming back as that they feel good and safe. Purchasing procedures are more convenient and safer than in a stationary store.
Amazon’s policy is to adapt to local trading laws. For example, in the European Union, the customer has a guaranteed right to return the goods purchased online within 14 days from the date of the transaction. While respecting this principle, Amazon goes even further and encourages sellers to offer a 30-day return policy. Although, it is not compulsory, such encouragement makes everyone around offer thirty days for the return. In such a situation, you may be shooting yourself in the foot, if you insist on offering a fourteen day return period. You have a choice, but you will choose what has been recommended anyway.
FBA, or who pays for returns
When Amazon customers return goods within the same country, they usually have to pay for the shipment. Except for situations where the products are damaged or non-compliant with their specification. In such circumstances, the shipping costs are covered by the seller. Also, it is the seller who pays for shipment if the return address is outside the customer’s country of residence. The question is, how can returns be profitable under such circumstances?
This is where Amazon Big Brother comes in to lend a helping hand. The company offers sellers Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. a full logistics service. The seller delivers the goods to Amazon’s local warehouses which handle packing, shipping and the processing of returns. In this way, FBA facilitates the sales process and allows the sellers to save their time and resources. Additionally, the sellers do not have to own or rent warehouse space but can still offer the customer instant shipping. Moreover, the seller gets the chance to list their goods on Amazon Prime. In this model, all returns to Amazon’s local warehouses are treated as domestic, which means that the return shipment is paid by the customer.
Return Dissatisfaction Rate
If someone has any doubts that returns are a priority for Amazon, they should get to know about the Return Dissatisfaction Rate, a rating on how happy customers are with their return experience. Its value is calculated as the percentage of returns that were not answered to within 48 hours, the number of unfairly rejected returns and the number of returns that received negative customer feedback.
If this value is close to 10%, the seller should start to worry. If it exceeds the acceptable limits, the sellers account may be suspended.
Amazon does not tolerate sellers not complying with time limits for order processing or responding to customer inquiries. Here the magic 10% appears once again: if you do not complete 90% of orders within 48 hours and do not respond to 90% of inquiries within 24 hours, you may face the suspension of your account. Of course, Big Brother offers a chance to repent and correct mistakes. If you do not follow the rules, you will have to look for a different sales platform.
Amazon has perfected the enforcement of its rules. It is not always nice and not for everyone. However, it is difficult to deny that this tactic is effective and beneficial for customers.