If you’ve never done it before, writing a return policy for your dropshipping business that is fair to customers but won’t put you out of business can seem like an overwhelming 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 design a fantastic dropshipping return policy that works for your company?
Let’s dive in and find out!
What Is a Dropshipping Return Policy?
A dropshipping return policy is essentially a set of guidelines outlining the parameters under which a customer may request a return and refund, along with the procedures that must be followed.
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 supplier will have (or should have) their own return and refund policy. And you’ll need to read this so that your thoughts and actions are consistent with what’s being presented.
However, it’s likely that neither your customers nor your supplier are aware that you’re dropshipping. Since they consider you to be the seller and since they purchased the item from your online store, they hold you responsible for the return policy.
True enough! Every online shop needs their own unique return policy, and dropshipping is no exception.
Keep in mind that you should try to conform to the terms set by 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 only allows returns and refunds within 7 days.
Do Dropshippers Accept Returns?
Yes. It would be unethical and illegal for most dropshipping businesses to not accept returns and issue refunds, so the vast majority of them do.
Offering refunds without requiring the return of the product is a viable second option if shipping is a problem.
How Do Returns Work with Dropshipping?
In the event that a customer requests a return, you must promptly submit a return request through your supplier’s online system. Your vendor will issue a refund as soon as they receive the returned item.
It is common practice for businesses to require customers to pay back refunds in advance before receiving their money from the supplier. Consequently, if you’re dropshipping on a shoestring budget, you should remember that.
Because dropshippers don’t typically stock items themselves, any returns must be sent back to the original supplier.
It’s important to note that this may not come cheap. If a customer returns a defective product, it can cost you much more to replace or refund their purchase.
For dropshipping stores, there are three return options to consider:
Allow for hassle-free returns and full refunds (especially helpful for pricey items);
When dealing with low-priced items, it is best to offer a full refund and let the customer keep the defective product.
Make them an offer that includes letting them keep the product plus a replacement or store credit;
Does Shopify Handle Returns?
Shopify itself is only the online store builder or eCommerce platform that you use to host your store. Therefore, they are not accountable for taking care of customer returns.
Return policy for Shopify drop shipments
To that end, it is imperative that you create a returns and refunds page for your Shopify dropshipping store. For that, you can use Shopify’s free policy maker.
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.
There are a number of critical situations in which a return policy for dropshipped goods is required, including:
All of your customers will be able to understand and follow the steps of the procedure;
You won’t have to worry about confusion or misunderstandings;
Customers will appreciate the added sense of safety, and you’ll avoid any suspicion;
So as to be in line with the laws of the various countries where our customers reside;
In order to boost business, sales, and conversions;
It’s in your best interest to keep up a respectable reputation;
What Are the Most Important Things to Include in Your Dropshipping Return Policy?
There are a few essentials that should be included in any dropshipping return policy template.
The items that can be returned
How many, if any, of your store’s items can be returned? Due to the intimate nature of underwear, some online retailers may choose not to accept returns on this item.
To add, will sale items be eligible for returns? Or is it limited to retail prices only?
The timeframe in which returns are accepted
How long does a customer have from the date of delivery before they must contact you to arrange a return?
In Europe, it is common practice to offer a no-questions-asked refund period of 14 days. Many dropshipping businesses, however, survive by providing extended warranties of 30, 60, or even 90 days.
Make sure your decision coincides with the return policy of the company providing the product.
The condition of the items returned
Do you only accept returns for defective items or ones that didn’t arrive on time, or do you also take back those that didn’t fit properly?
So, only brand-new items, or slightly used ones as well? Have you finished packing or do you need to finish?
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
You must specify who is responsible for paying for return shipping in your dropshipping return policy.
Do you permit returns with no additional cost (you foot the bill)? Do you offer free return shipping, or does the customer have to cover the cost? Or maybe you’ll give the customer a refund and let them keep the product.
There are some major inconsistencies in your return policy that need to be addressed.
The return process and steps
Have a well-defined, easy-to-understand, and straightforward procedure for returns. Clearly outline the steps involved for the customer to request a refund and return the product.
An instant illustration:
First, request a refund by writing an email addressed to “your email.”
In Stage 2, we’ll reply with the address where you can send the product back for a refund.
Third, once we receive the returned item, we will notify you and give you the option of a refund, a replacement item, or store credit.
How to Create a Dropshipping Return Policy in Shopify?
Congratulations, if you run a Shopify shop! Create your own return and refund policy for dropshipping with the help of Shopify’s free 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?
If you don’t have a Shopify store but still want to create a return policy for your dropshipped products, you can use the Shopify policy generator we mentioned above.
You can also do some online research into the policies of your competitors to get a sense of what kind of information would be useful to include. For the most part, the following elements should always be present in a dropshipping return policy:
Returnable and non-returnable items;
Duration of the merchandise-return window offered to consumers;
the price of shipping back your item;
Provide a mailing address;
What needs to happen in order for it to work;
The condition of the returned items (whether worn, broken, used, etc.);
The procedure and timetable for refunds;
Details on how to get your money back (including whether you can get a full refund, a store credit, a different product, etc.);
How to Give Refunds If You’re Using WooCommerce?
WooCommerce, a popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, includes an “Orders” menu where you can view, modify, and cancel orders.
WooCommerce provides both an automated and a manual refund option. Both will change the order’s status back to “completed,” but the manual refund requires you to process the refund either manually or through your payment gateway’s administrative interface.
Because of how quickly the automatic refund feature works, we highly recommend using it whenever possible when dropshipping with WooCommerce. Refunds are a breeze to organize and handle with WooCommerce.
What Are the Most Common Causes of a Return and Refund Request?
The customer may want to return the item for a variety of reasons. Just a few of the most important are listed below.
The product doesn’t match the description
In the case of online retailers, a high rate of returns is often attributable to customers receiving an item that is significantly different from what they ordered, usually to their dissatisfaction.
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
Having a high return rate because the product is the wrong size or doesn’t fit is the second most common reason. That is a normal fear, especially for those who dropship fashion or jewelry.
To minimize this possibility, it is recommended to provide a size chart to customers. A clear statement in the return policy that you do not accept returns due to incorrect sizing would be appropriate if a size chart is provided and 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.
Because they are the ones sending out the goods, suppliers should have a return and refund policy in place for broken items.
The product didn’t arrive at all or comes later
Finally, another common reason for asking for a refund is waiting a long time for shipping or having the deadline for delivery pass.
Having reliable vendors and storage facilities in close proximity to your clientele will help you avoid this problem.
What Dropshipping Products Have the Highest Return Rates?
In 2022, Statista predicts that the highest return rate will be for apparel and footwear. While shoes have a 15% return rate, clothing has a whopping 25% return rate, making it the clear winner.
There are still opportunities to reduce footwear and apparel return rates and cushion the blow as much as possible.
Sizing tables and charts
Dropshipping products like shoes, clothing, accessories, and jewelry all benefit from having a sizing table included in the product description. For a more global clientele, please provide sizing information in both inches and centimeters.
Real-life product photos
As an alternative to using purely computer-generated imagery or mockups, try showing the product being used by a real person. 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 suitable is to read actual reviews, testimonials, and photos made by happy users. Benefit from user-generated content by letting customers view feedback from 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. But what should one do if they receive an item that differs in some material way from what was advertised?
Okay, now you’re inundated with requests for refunds! Let’s examine some methods for cutting down on returns and refund requests:
Write a fitting product description
We’re all aware that the product description block is a major selling point, so it’s crucial that it comes across as appealing and attractive.
Be careful, though, not to let your carefully crafted words slip into outright fabrication. Slight exaggeration is permitted, but false or misleading claims about the product are not. You could see a rise in sales, but at the expense of a higher rate of returns if you do that.
Upload good product photos
In order to attract and convert customers, you need high-quality photos of your products that accurately portray the item’s appearance.
High-Quality Images of Your Products
Unclear pictures that don’t show the product’s true condition, color, or fit are a surefire way to field customer complaints about a poor purchase.
Decrease your delivery time
Prolonged transit and delivery times are yet another issue that could prompt a customer to request a refund. Nowaday’s consumers have zero patience for delivery times of a product that range from 60 to 90 days. Furthermore, if they do consent, it is because they have carefully read the terms and conditions.
Working with a dropshipping agent that has a global fulfillment center or locating a supplier with warehouses close to your customers are the best ways to reduce shipping times.
Slow shipping is a common issue, especially when working with AliExpress vendors to drop-ship their products. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to speed up these shipping times at this time.
However, if you let your customers know about this beforehand, they will be prepared. Your common sense tells you that’s a terrible plan, but it’s the only way to prevent refund requests and returns.
Stay in touch after the purchase
Yet another common failing of the dropshipping model is a complete lack of follow-up with customers after a sale has been made.
Please keep in touch with us after your purchase.
Don’t disappear into the void after a sale has been made. Many customers may request a refund out of paranoia that they’ve been tricked if they aren’t followed up with.
Keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to have customers return. That means that just because you’ve closed a sale, you haven’t finished your work.
Building trustworthy, long-lasting relationships with your clientele and customers should be your top priority.
A solid return policy that’s easy to find
Dropshipping refund and return policies should be written in simple language, cover all bases, and be easily understood.
It would also be helpful if you presented it in a way that was straightforward to find, locate, and read on your online shop’s website. By doing so, both your business and your customers’ legal status are protected.
How to Handle Returns when Dropshipping from China?
Although the delivery costs from China to the US are usually acceptable, shipping vice versa can be much more expensive. Here are some potential solutions:
Collaborate with a dropshipping agent
If you use a dropshipping agent in China that has a global fulfillment center and local warehouses, you can cut down on expensive return shipments.
A dropshipping agent can help you stock up on merchandise and keep it in a warehouse conveniently located near your clientele, allowing you to get orders out to them more quickly.
Find suppliers closer to your customers
An alternate strategy is to switch suppliers in search of those that are physically closer to your clientele.
Check out marketplaces like CJDropshipping, as they store inventory in numerous distribution centers across the globe. Instead, you could check out Spocket, which features many vendors based in the United States and the European Union.
Offer refunds only, without returns
Your third choice is to not request product returns at all but instead offer customers a full refund, store credit, or a replacement item. There is no point in returning an item if the cost of shipping it back would exceed the value of the item itself.
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 without charging you a fee.
How Are Dropshippers Affected by Returns?
High return rates on products sold through dropshipping can be disastrous for any company. The biggest issue here is, of course, the lost profits and the inability to budget effectively.
What impact do returns have on dropshippers?
When a large number of customers request a refund, additional complications arise, such as an uptick in inquiries and the need to reorganize shipping processes.
Finally, you will need to consider who is going to foot the bill for the return shipping. Is the customer (usually a bad idea) to blame? As an alternative, you (may) risk losing customers but improve customer loyalty.
Many dropshippers offer refunds in the form of store credit or cash, rather than requiring customers to return the item originally shipped to them. You can save money by doing this, especially if you sell inexpensive items.
Can You Offer Refunds Without Returns?
Absolutely! It’s usually better to just offer a refund or replacement instead of requiring customers to send back cheap dropshipping products.
This is something to think about if the cost of returning the item to you or the customer would be prohibitive.
It is more cost-effective to ship from China to the United States than the other way around. It could be beneficial to allow the customer to keep the product.
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.
What are the parameters for a return?
How long do you have (for example, 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)?
What if I need to return more than one item?
I was hoping you might have a replacement product available.
How often do they swap the wrong size?
If the package has been opened, do you still accept returns?
If you ask these questions before writing your own return policy, you’ll find out how your suppliers handle returns and can adjust yours accordingly.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Accepting Returns?
When discussing a dropshipping return policy, it should go without saying that returns are accepted.
In fact, European law mandates a 14-day, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee if you plan to dropship there. Further, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) exists to safeguard the interests of your American consumers.
Taking in unused items that were shipped as a dropshipping order
Therefore, it is often your legal obligation to accept a return request if an item does not arrive as described or arrives damaged.
Most drop shippers, however, do not agree that customers should be charged for returns. Here, then, are the benefits and drawbacks of offering free returns:
Boosted sales and conversion rates thanks to increased trust, credibility, and loyalty among customers as a result of an enhanced shopping experience.
It’s useful for a subset of the clientele;
Having a negative impact on profits;
Making long-term financial projections is difficult.
Does AliExpress Have Free Returns?
AliExpress is a marketplace where you can buy from a variety of sellers, and they all participate in a single Free Returns program where you can return an item within 15 days for no cost as long as it is unused and in its original packaging.
Since the buyer will typically unpack and open the package when dropshipping with AliExpress, this is not the most useful option.
The AliExpress Buyer Protection assures you of a refund in the first 60 days if the product:
fails to show up by the promised date;
Broken upon arrival;
What was shipped was not what was advertised;
Unfortunately for the buyer, they were sold a knockoff instead of the real thing.
Our advice is to contact each AliExpress supplier directly and inquire about their dropshipping return policy.
Does AliExpress Have a Return Policy?
As we’ve mentioned before, you can return an unopened item purchased on AliExpress for free within 15 days of receipt.
Customers are protected by a refund policy for 60 days (or 90 days in some countries) after purchase.
If your purchase does not arrive on time, is damaged, or is otherwise not as described, you may file a claim through AliExpress’s Buyer Protection program.
What Should Be the Dropshipping Return Address?
The majority of dropshipping companies rely on Chinese suppliers. Then the Chinese address of your supplier must be the one used for the return shipment.
The good news is that many suppliers and dropshipping agents have US-based warehouses and shipping addresses that are more convenient for your customers. So, it’s a good idea to always inquire if that’s a viable option.
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 the number of pointless emails exchanged.
If you’re working with multiple vendors, however, it’s sufficient to provide a single email address for customers to use when requesting a refund and communicating with you. Next, make sure they have the right address to send things back to.
Who Pays the Return Shipping Fee: the Customer or the Dropshipper?
Frequently, customers of dropshippers are left to foot the bill for returns. However, if your company’s 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 dropshipper, you should offer free return shipping as soon as possible. This is usually the case for dropshipping expensive items because of the greater profit margin.
Offer a refund without a return
When a customer returns a cheap item for which the shipping cost is likely to be more than the cost of the item itself, it’s considerate to let them keep the returned item and provide a refund or replacement instead.
To Sum Up
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.
Moreover, we advise you to be open and honest about your policy, rather than hiding it away in the site’s footer.
The key to online retail success is a well-defined, customer-friendly return policy for dropshipped items.