Mandatory 30 day returns for Top Rated Sellers
eBay are increasing the returns period required for eBay Premium Service listings from 14 to 30 days. The new 30 day returns requirement will apply from the 1st of May 2016.
That means eBay Top-rated Sellers will need to offer 30-day returns in order for listings to receive eBay’s Premium Service discount and badge.
eBay benefits to sellers
As well as retaining your eBay Premium Service benefits, eBay give the following reasons to extend your returns window:
Increase your sales
Offering a longer returns window instils confidence and encourages buyers to purchase your items. And sellers who offer 30-day returns have told us that extending their returns window has little impact on the number of returns received.
Gain a competitive edge
Offering a longer returns window provides a great buyer experience and could give you an advantage over sellers with a less competitive returns policy.
Stand out from the crowd
With the eBay Premium Service badge and competitive returns, your listings could benefit from extra visibility in search.
Will it make a difference?
We all know that returns are a pain in the neck for sellers. There are too many stories (not just on eBay but on the high street too) of buyers purchasing an item, using it and returning it.
Recently I heard of a woman who returned and repurchased the same dress three times in a department store in Reading because the price dropped in the sales. Each time she was refunded her previous purchase price and immediately repurchased the same dress at a lower price.
Realistically on the Internet returns aren’t quite as easy as on the High Street and most returns happen fairly quickly. That’s why companies such as Zappos can afford to offer a 365 day return policy.
There will always be genuine reasons for later returns too. A couple of years ago I had to return an item I’d purchased on eBay in November as a Christmas present. It was until just after Christmas that it came out of the box for the first time and was damaged. The seller was fantastic organising a replacement even through it was well out of their normal two week returns window once I explained the situation.
How quickly are you notified by buyers when they wish to make a return – Do you think a 30 day return window make a significant difference compared to the current 14 day return window? We suspect it won’t make a great deal of difference – prolific returners will still return products and people like me will still only have returned a couple of products in over a decade of buying on eBay.
There was an interesting comment recently on LinkedIn from an Australian eBay seller and consultant who said they had extensively tested and researched the optimum time to offer returns – 7, 14, 30 and 60 days.
The best one was 60 days – more buyers trusted them and it made no difference to the number of returns.
As trust is such a big issue with online buyers it seems logical that the perception you are a professional seller and will deliver a fantastic customer service above and beyond the legal minimum will encourage them to choose you.
When I first took over my business the returns policy was a stingy 14 days and the previous owner had made the process deliberately difficult, presumably to put people of returning items. The return rate at the time was around 12 to 15 percent.
I decided that if people were going to return stuff anyway, I may as well make it an easy and positive experience for them, so I extended to 30 days, offered a Freepost return address and made the process much more visible and accessible.
Within 3 months returns had dropped to 10%.
Since then I have increased the policy to 60 days, then 90 days and now it’s 365 days and my return rate is still at 10%.
I could probably offer an unlimited return policy and it wouldn’t make any difference. In fact I think I might do that.
It is definitely worth trying different offers.
Actually I should add – one of the disappointments with eBay is that you can only set returns up to 60days. So that’s the setting I have selected, but I still offer 365 days in the policy details and publicise it on my eBay storefront
As a used clothing business seller it is a nightmare. More chance of buyers wearing the items and then returning them.
I think that this is totally affected by what you sell.
In my own case (small collectables) I have no more returns now with 60 days returns than I got when it was 7 (days).
say what you will ,set the time to what you like ,it makes no difference! to be an ebay seller ,the rule of just bend over and take it , is the only one that applies