If you’ve never done it before, writing a dropshipping return policy that’s fair to customers and won’t put you out of business may seem like an impossible task.
However, the success of your online store depends on your willingness to accept returns and on the organization and clarity of your return process.
So, how do you go about crafting a fantastic dropshipping return policy that works for your company?
Okay, let’s just dive in and find out!
What Is a Dropshipping Return Policy?
A dropshipping return policy is a set of rules that a retailer or store owner publishes to make sure their customers know exactly how to return an item for a refund and under what circumstances.
In order to build trust with your customers and give them an extra sense of security, a return and refund policy page is a must-have for any dropshipping or eCommerce store.
Is Drafting a Return Policy the Obligation of the Dropshipper or the Supplier?
Each vendor will (or should have) its own procedure for processing returns and refunds. And you should read this so that it can serve as a guide for your own writing.
However, your customers are likely unaware that they are purchasing from a third-party dropshipper, and they may not even know who the supplier is. Since they consider you to be the seller and since they made their purchase through your online store, they hold you accountable for the return policy.
Moreover, they are correct. It is important for you to have a distinct return policy for items you sell via dropshipping as an online retailer.
However, as was previously mentioned, you should try to coordinate with your supplier. And if you work with more than one vendor, you must abide by their terms or risk hearing from disgruntled clients.
It would be counterproductive to offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if your supplier allows returns and refunds for only 7 days.
Do Dropshippers Accept Returns?
Yes. It would be unethical and illegal for most dropshipping companies to not accept returns and issue refunds.
If you’re having trouble with shipping, the next best option is to offer refunds without requiring the return of the product.
How Do Returns Work with Dropshipping?
Customer requests for returns necessitate prompt action in the form of a return request created in the supplier’s online store. Your vendor will issue a refund as soon as they receive the returned item.
Many suppliers require you to reimburse them in advance, before they refund you, to reduce the amount of time your customers must wait for their money. So, if you’re dropshipping on a shoestring budget, remember that!
To the supplier’s address or warehouse, as dropshippers rarely keep stock themselves.
The downside is the potential financial outlay. As a matter of fact, it can cost you much more than if you had simply let the customer keep the faulty product and offered a refund or replacement.
For dropshipping stores, there are three return options to consider:
Allow for hassle-free returns and full refunds (this is especially helpful for pricey items);
Allow them to keep the flawed item and issue a full refund (this works best with inexpensive items);
Let them keep the product and provide a replacement or store credit;
Does Shopify Handle Returns?
You host your store on Shopify, but Shopify is just the online store builder or eCommerce platform. Therefore, they are not accountable for processing customer returns.
Policy on returns for items purchased through Shopify’s drop shipping feature
In light of this, it is imperative that you create a returns and refunds page in Shopify if you intend to engage in drop shipping. Shopify provides an automated policy maker at no cost.
Why Do You Need to Have a Dropshipping Return Policy Set Up?
To get started with drop shipping, you must have a returns page. Create trust, loyalty, and up your customer service game with a well-written return and refund policy.
The following are the most important considerations when designing a dropshipping return policy:
It will be easy for your customers to understand and follow the steps of the process;
As a result, misunderstandings and miscommunications can be avoided.
Customers will appreciate the added sense of safety, and you’ll avoid any suspicion;
For legal reasons based on the location of the customer;
To boost business and get more customers to buy;
You won’t let your reputation as a professional flounder;
What Are the Most Important Things to Include in Your Dropshipping Return Policy?
Key components of a solid return policy template for dropshipping include the following:
The items that can be returned
Do you accept returns for all or just a portion of the items sold in your shop? Due to the intimate nature of underwear, some online retailers may choose not to accept returns on this item.
Moreover, will sale items be eligible for returns? Or is it limited to retail prices only?
The timeframe in which returns are accepted
From the date of delivery, how long does a customer have to submit a return request?
In Europe, it is common practice to offer a no-questions-asked refund period of 14 days. On the other hand, many dropshipping businesses survive by providing a 30-, 60-, or even 90-day guarantee.
Make sure your decision coincides with the return policy of your supplier.
The condition of the items returned
Do you only accept returns for defective items or those that didn’t arrive on time, or do you also accept returns for incorrect sizing or fits?
So, only brand-new items, or slightly used ones as well? Have you finished packing or do you need to do more?
Products shipped via “drop shipping”
For the sake of your customers’ peace of mind, be sure to emphasize all of these points in your dropshipping return policy.
The cost of the return shipping
Who is responsible for paying for the return delivery of a product should be spelled out in detail in your dropshipping return policy.
Do you permit returns with no additional cost (you foot the bill)? Or, the customer will be responsible for the cost of return shipping. Or maybe you’ll give the customer a full refund and let them keep the product.
All of these issues with your refund policy need to be resolved immediately.
The return process and steps
Have a well-defined, easy-to-follow return procedure that is explained in detail. Clearly outline the steps involved for the customer to request a return and refund.
So, to illustrate:
To begin the refund process, please send an email to “your email.”
Second, we’ll reply to your email with the address to which you should return the item.
Third, we’ll let you know when we receive the item and whether you’ve been approved for a refund, exchange, or store credit.
How to Create a Dropshipping Return Policy in Shopify?
Lucky you if you run a Shopify shop! Your dropshipping return and refund policy can be easily made with Shopify’s free refund policy generator.
Template for a hassle-free return policy in Shopify
You could also do some investigating and see how other Shopify stores manage returns.
What Is a Good Dropshipping Return Policy Template?
Without a Shopify store, you can still use the free Shopify policy generator to write a return policy for dropshipping.
You can also do some online research into the policies of your rival companies to get a sense of what needs to be covered. It is recommended that a return policy for dropshipping include at least the following:
Conditions for returning or exchanging certain items;
The length of time a buyer has to request a refund;
The price of shipping back your item;
Include a return mailing address;
Those that must be met in order for success;
The condition of the returned items (whether worn, broken, used, etc.);
Timeline and procedure for processing a return;
Possible outcomes for returns, such as money back, store credit, a different product, etc.
How to Give Refunds If You’re Using WooCommerce?
WooCommerce, a popular WordPress plugin for e-commerce, includes a “Orders” menu where you can view, modify, or cancel any order.
WooCommerce provides the option to issue refunds either automatically or manually. Both will change the order back to “processing,” but the manual refund requires you to handle the refunding of the payment either manually or via the dashboard of your chosen payment gateway.
We recommend using the automatic refund option as much as possible when dropshipping with WooCommerce. In general, refunds in WooCommerce are simple to implement and manage.
What Are the Most Common Causes of a Return and Refund Request?
Customer returns can be requested for a variety of reasons. A few of the most important are as follows:
The product doesn’t match the description
When customers buy something online, they expect to get something specific, and when they receive it, it’s often very different from what they expected, usually for the worse.
Although you want to write an accurate and engaging product description, you also don’t want to mislead customers.
The product doesn’t fit or is the wrong size
Not having the right size available is the second most common reason for returns. That is a normal worry, particularly for those who dropship fashion or jewelry.
Having a size chart to assist customers in finding the right fit is one way to minimize this problem. Your return policy should make it clear that you do not accept returns due to customers ordering the incorrect size, assuming you have a size chart and that it is accurate and up-to-date.
The product arrived with defects or damage
Products that are damaged or defective upon arrival are another cause of high refund rates.
Suppliers should have a return and refund policy that includes damaged goods since they are the ones typically shipping them out.
The product didn’t arrive at all or comes later
Finally, other common causes of requests for refunds include lengthy shipping times and missed delivery deadlines.
This problem can be avoided by working with reliable suppliers and maintaining warehouses in close proximity to your clientele.
What Dropshipping Products Have the Highest Return Rates?
In 2022, Statista predicts that the highest return rate will be for apparel and footwear. The clothing niche has a 25% return rate, making it the most lucrative in the retail industry. The shoe niche, in comparison, only has a 15% return rate.
The shoe and clothing industry is one where return rates can be reduced and the blow to sales can be mitigated.
Sizing tables and charts
Always include a size chart in your product description listings if you’re selling dropshipped shoes, clothing, accessories, or jewelry. Include both the inch and centimeter measurements for your sizes to appeal to a wider audience.
Real-life product photos
Put the product on a real person instead of just showing it in a mockup or 3D rendering. This will allow customers to see the product in its true color and size before making a purchase decision.
Customer reviews and user photos
The best way to determine if a product is right for you is to read reviews written by actual users and view photos taken by those who are pleased with the product. Benefit from user-generated content by letting customers view reviews written by satisfied clients.
How to Get Fewer Customers to Request a Return?
All too often, in our haste to generate the highest possible number of conversions, we neglect the quality of our work in favor of crafting the most captivating headlines and product descriptions ever. What, though, if the item itself doesn’t live up to the hype?
What happens is that you start getting a lot of requests for refunds. Let’s look at some strategies for reducing requests for refunds and returns:
Write a fitting product description
We all know that the product description block is a crucial part of the overall sales process, so it’s important to make it sound as appealing and attractive as possible.
But be careful not to stray too far from artful wording into outright fabrication. It’s fine to use some creative license, but you shouldn’t outright lie about the product’s capabilities. In addition to potentially increasing sales, this strategy will likely increase the percentage of customers who decide to return their purchases.
Upload good product photos
It’s crucial to your business’s success that customers can clearly see what they’re getting in the high-quality product photos you provide.
Professional-grade images of the goods
Images that are blurry or pixelated and don’t clearly show the product’s condition, color, or fit are a surefire way to end up fielding returns.
Decrease your delivery time
Delivery times are another issue that may prompt a customer to ask for a refund. Nobody in the modern era has the patience to wait 90 days for a product to arrive. If they do sign on, it’s because they’ve read the fine print.
If you want to reduce shipping times, working with a dropshipping agent that has a global fulfillment center or locating a supplier with warehouses near your customers are your best bets.
The issue of slow delivery can arise frequently, especially when dropshipping with AliExpress vendors. Currently, there is nothing you can do to hasten these shipping times.
Still, if customers are made aware of this fact before making a purchase, they will be better prepared. Your common sense tells you that’s a bad plan, but it’s the most foolproof method for preventing refund requests and returns.
Stay in touch after the purchase
Another common mistake made by dropshippers is ignoring their customers once the sale has been made.
Keep in touch after the sale
Don’t forget about your customer just because they’ve made a purchase. Failing to follow up with a customer after receiving payment makes them feel duped, which may prompt them to request a refund.
Keep in mind that your ultimate goal should be customer retention and continued purchases. Therefore, closing a sale is not the end of your responsibilities.
Building trustworthy, long-lasting relationships with your clientele and customers should be your top priority.
A solid return policy that’s easy to find
The return and refund policy for dropshipping orders must be written in clear language, cover all bases, and account for every possible scenario.
It would also be helpful if it were presented in an accessible manner on your website. This way, you can keep your business on the up-and-up legally and also keep your customers in the loop about the terms and conditions.
How to Handle Returns when Dropshipping from China?
Shipping from the US to China is usually inexpensive, but shipping from China to the US can be quite pricey. Here are some potential solutions:
Collaborate with a dropshipping agent
You can save money on return shipping by working with a dropshipping agent in China that has a global fulfillment center and regional warehouses close to your customers.
You can save money by buying in bulk from a dropshipping agent and storing the goods in a warehouse close to your customers.
Find suppliers closer to your customers
You could also switch to different suppliers in search of those that are more conveniently located near your clientele.
Stores like CJDropshipping are worth looking into because they distribute their inventory across multiple distribution centers around the world. You could also check out Spocket, which features many vendors based in the United States and the European Union.
Offer refunds only, without returns
The third alternative is to not request product returns from customers and instead provide them with a full refund, store credit, or a replacement item. It’s not worthwhile to request a refund if the cost of return shipping exceeds the value of the item being returned.
Find suppliers who offer free returns
Keep them if you’re lucky enough to find a vendor who’ll take returns from your customers’ countries at no cost to you.
How Are Dropshippers Affected by Returns?
Any company can suffer from the negative effects of selling dropshipped products with high return rates. Naturally, the biggest issue here is the decline in profits and the inability to budget ahead of time.
The impact of returns on dropshippers.
However, additional complications emerge when a large number of customers submit a refund request, such as a rise in the demand for customer service and a disruption in the logistics of shipping.
Finally, you’ll have to figure out who’s going to foot the bill for the return shipping. Is the customer (usually a bad idea) to blame? The alternative is you (better for customer loyalty but could lead to losses?
Frequently, dropshippers offer refunds in the form of cash or store credit without requiring the returned item to be returned. If you sell inexpensive goods, this strategy can be quite cost-effective.
Can You Offer Refunds Without Returns?
Absolutely! When selling inexpensive dropshipping products, it’s usually more cost-effective to simply offer a refund or replacement instead of requiring customers to send back the original item.
This is something to think about if the cost of returning the item to you or the customer is prohibitive.
It is more cost effective to ship from China to the United States than the other way around. This suggests that allowing the customer to keep the product may be beneficial.
What to Discuss with Suppliers before Drafting Your Return Policy?
Before drafting your dropshipping return policy, there are several crucial questions to ask your suppliers.
When do you accept returns, exactly?
How long do you have (for instance, 14, 30, 60, or 90 days) to file a refund request?
Is there a free return policy (or who covers the cost of the return shipping)?
So what happens if there are several items that need to be returned?
Do you have an alternative product available?
Is it possible they’re trading the wrong sizes?
Upon opening the package, will you still accept the return?
If you ask your suppliers these questions before writing your own return policy, you’ll gain insight into their return policies and be better equipped to craft your own.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Accepting Returns?
Having a return policy that allows for returns in dropshipping should be considered a given.
In fact, European law mandates a 14-day, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee if you plan to engage in drop shipping there. In addition, the FTC is there to safeguard your American clients from scams and other deceptive business practices.
Allowing returns for items that were dropped shipped
Thus, it is usually your legal obligation to accept a return request if an item doesn’t arrive as described or arrives damaged.
But most dropshippers disagree on whether or not to provide free returns. To help you make an informed decision, I’ve compiled a list of the benefits and drawbacks of offering free
Better sales and conversions thanks to happier customers and more word-of-mouth advertising thanks to word-of-mouth advertising; a longer relationship with each customer and increased loyalty; an increase in customer trust and confidence;
As a result, it may be useful for some clients.
dropping in value;
Profit projections are difficult to make in the long run;
Does AliExpress Have Free Returns?
AliExpress offers a general Free Returns program where customers can return an item within 15 days for no cost so long as it is unopened and in resalable condition.
Since the buyer will typically unpack and open the package when dropshipping with AliExpress, this is not the most useful option.
As an added bonus, AliExpress offers a Buyer Protection program that ensures you’ll get your money back if any of the following things happen to your product within 60 days of purchase:
misses the target delivery date;
Broken upon arrival;
What was shipped was not what was advertised;
The customer was sold a knockoff but received the real thing;
We advise contacting each AliExpress supplier directly to inquire about their dropshipping return policy.
Does AliExpress Have a Return Policy?
We’ve already mentioned that you can return an unopened item purchased on AliExpress for free within 15 days of its arrival.
Additionally, they offer a 60-day (or 90-day in some countries) Buyer Protection period during which the customer can request a refund.
In the event that your purchase does not arrive by the promised date, arrives damaged, or is otherwise not as described, you can file a claim through AliExpress’s Buyer Protection program.
What Should Be the Dropshipping Return Address?
Many online businesses that rely on drop shipping source their inventory from China. That means you’ll need to use your Chinese supplier’s address for the return shipment.
However, many US-based suppliers and dropshipping partners maintain warehouses conveniently located near your customers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to inquire whether or not that’s feasible.
If you only deal with one vendor and don’t mind customers seeing their address, you can list it on the returns page. This will cut down on the amount of time spent on customer service and on responding to irrelevant emails.
But if you’re using a few different vendors, all you really need is an email address where customers can ask for refunds and get in touch with you. Then, make sure they have the right address to reply to.
Who Pays the Return Shipping Fee: the Customer or the Dropshipper?
Customers are often left to foot the bill for returns when dealing with dropshippers. However, if both your supplier and return address are located in China, your customers may be put off by the high cost of doing business with you.
You could do one of two things to prevent that:
Free return shipping
If you value your customers’ loyalty and your reputation as a trustworthy dropshipping business, offering free return shipping should be your first step. Usually, the most profitable items to dropship are those with a higher retail price.
Offer a refund without a return
A good policy is to let the customer keep the old product and offer them a refund or a replacement if they return a low-priced item for which the shipping costs would be greater than the item’s value.
Returning an item can be a hassle, but keeping things simple will pay off in the long run by increasing customer satisfaction and keeping repeat business.
We also advise you to be open and honest about your policy, rather than hiding it away in the site’s footer.
The key to achieving success in the e-commerce industry is to have a well-defined procedure for accepting returns from customers who have purchased through drop shipping.