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Thu Aug 9 2018 11:29:01

Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

By: Ina Steiner

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Walmart may leverage its physical stores to facilitate returns of items sold by third-party marketplace sellers, according to CNBC, which could help it compete against Amazon.

Marketplaces are growing obsessed with returns as a way to improve conversion rates to boost sales growth. But that has the potential to harm sellers of low-margin goods, fragile items, or unique inventory such as antiques and collectibles.

Etsy has indicated it will begin tackling the issue of returns on its marketplace, and it's hard to see how sellers won't be challenged as a result, if eBay sellers' experiences are any indication. 

It's not that most sellers don't want to ensure buyers are satisfied with their purchases, but there's a culture today in which shoppers feel it's okay to use items and then return them for full price when no longer wanted. And online sellers have seen it all - many simply want marketplaces to curb egregious behavior by buyers.

CNBC noted that Amazon has begun banning shoppers it believes return too many items.

It published the letter Walmart sent to its 3P sellers about the Marketplace Returns Program it will launch in the fall. The retailer told merchants it will make it easier to manage returns, and importantly:

"As a seller, you will continue to be able to configure the return policy for every item you sell, including the settings for restocking fees, shipping carriers, return windows and shipping fees.

"You will also have the option to use our Returns Shipping Service, which offers special discounted shipping rates."

It didn't provide details about how it would use its 4,700 stores in the US "to make marketplace returns even easier." While that sounds like a possible win for sellers, it also has the potential to be a nightmare. 

How well do you think Walmart clerks can handle returned goods - from making a determination about the validity of a return, to storing returned goods on behalf of merchants, and returning the goods to merchants?

Sellers have to deal with those issues when their FBA items are returned to Amazon fulfillment centers - and it remains to be seen if Walmart stores can handle these challenges any better.

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Perminate Link for Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce   Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

by: Carol Is Here This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 11 13:22:09 2018

One thing also that big retailers can do is put pressure on credit card companies to tighten up the complaints problem going on with a percentage of their customers abusing the practice.

Perminate Link for Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce   Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

by: Carol Is Here This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 11 13:26:09 2018

pace, Amazon is destroying people's livelihoods and facilitating theft from sellers. People have to do what they need to do in order to survive. I really can't blame them at all. What you do is simply what what Amazon tells people to do. You are following their encouragement. Nothing wrong there.

Wealthy people like those behind Amazon are still thieves when they steal, and they are using Amazon to allow theft so they can build a monopoly and profit.

Perminate Link for Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce   Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

by: portagelakes This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 11 16:06:35 2018

I live in an area where there are 2 online auctions going every day for returns from Amazon. This is a 3rd party who bid & got 1 of the contracts to receive all Amazon returns.
I have gotten many new items at 1/3 or less of the original price. You can also go & view all the items that week up for auction.  I couldn't believe the huge warehouse filled with Amazon returns.  Many items were used & then returned, many broken during shipment, & many new items.  After seeing these 2 warehouse filled with Amazons returns you would think they would be the front runner in cracking down on returns.

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 12 00:16:39 2018

@ portagelakes

All of that stuff is from Amazon Prime and a good part of it is from 3rd party sellers who participate in Amazon Prime and got screwed by a buyer and/or Amazon. That stuff gets shipped from a Prime fulfillment center and the return gets shipped back to a Prime center, the seller takes the hit and loses both the sale and the merchandise and Amazon winds up with free merchandise to sell off.
Sometimes they (Amazon) restrict categories while a seller has their goods in a Prime warehouse and Amazon makes them pay to have the products shipped back to them or offers to "dispose of it" for them if they don't wish to pay (more free merchandise for Amazon to sell)  Sometimes Amazon restricts or terminates a sellers account keeps their money or ties it up for 6 months and doesn't return their stuff stored in the Prime warehouse or makes them pay a fee per item to send it back.

Those are just a few of the ways they wind up having that stuff to sell for free at 3p sellers expense so a good percentage of that merchandise you speak of was ripped off from sellers in one way or another.

You people keep saying how bad Ebay is to it's sellers... but Amazon is 100X worse period and does not care.

In their eyes if you can't take the screwing and deal with it leave.. they don't want sellers who live week to week or month to month off their Amazon sales and could care even less about them than Ebay.

Perminate Link for Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce   Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 05:50:08 2018

''Ebay IS telling buyers to return all the time.''

Started awhile ago and was as nefarious as it gets - recall how they arrayed one of their early menu's for 'communicating' with a seller about even the most innocent possible misunderstanding where a simple question was the goal?  The topmost defaulted 'subject' was 'open a case'.  Unless a potential or actual buyer was savvy enough to take the time to scroll to the correct issue caregory, bam, a case was opened.  

This was soon followed by the shield of 'buyer protection' being splashed around liberally and featured prominently on almost every page.  The subliminal message?  Sellers are all cheats, but even if not, buyers need not even be responsible for ther own bad decisions, or lack of even reading terms and conditions.

Nordstrom service at Dollar Store prices.  It's the 'cost of doing business' on eBay.  

Cost prohibitive.

Perminate Link for Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce   Returns Are the Achilles Heel of Ecommerce

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 15 15:24:11 2018

Since eBay knows NOTHING about ecommerce - and therefore returns ... let me please let TWICE ( - the industry bible on consumer electronics say it for me.

"A Wall Street Journal article in February said post-retail sales of returned and overstocked merchandise rose to $550 billion in 2016, growing at a rate of 7.5 percent each year. A major contributor to the rising return rate is consumer electronics. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and other consumer tech are second only to apparel in returned goods.

Many companies are increasingly overwhelmed by a deluge of returns of electronic merchandise. For example, telecommunications company U.S. Cellular reportedly handled nearly 550,000 returned electronic devices and accessories in 2017.

----->  Unlike the consumer electronics giants, smaller retailers find it harder to absorb the costs of returned merchandise like may have years ago. Retailers today are faced with razor-thin profit margins and are forced to find innovative ways to recover as much value as possible on returns.

----->   With the rate of returned electronic items ranging from 5 to 15 percent, and higher for some companies, an effective strategy is required to minimize the impact of returns on retailers’ balance sheet.

But according to the San Jose Mafia - its all no big deal and its just part of business "so here take the loss".

Helping its sellers seems to be an anathema to ebay - just pile it all on to the seller!

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