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Do Return Rates Vary by Channel, such as Amazon vs eBay?

Return rates vary by product category – clothing and accessories have a notoriously high rate, for example. But do return rates vary by selling channel?

The issue is an important one – no retailer likes to receive returned merchandise, whether from an online sale or an instore purchase. Beyond the hassle, the items can become damaged (someone wearing a shirt and returning it stained) even if unintentionally (poor packaging by the buyer or damaged by shipping carrier on the return journey).

Returns are also costly in terms of fees, payment processing costs, and labor costs in customer service and handling.

An EcommerceBytes reader raised the issue of returns in a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog in a post about the widely circulated column about a returned doughnut fryer published in the New York Times.

Do returns vary by channel, we wondered? So we decided to conduct a survey to see what sellers are experiencing. You can weigh in on our Return-Rate survey via SurveyMonkey where we ask sellers to indicate their rate of returns on each of the following channels: Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and their own website.

We’ll report the findings in a future issue and open it up to discussion.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.