Drop shipping offers many advantages for online businesses, especially if you’re dealing in larger merchandise such as furniture. With drop shipping, you won’t have to worry about warehousing furniture while you’re waiting for it to sell. 

You won’t need a shipping staff and you won’t have to pay for merchandise until you sell it. On the other hand, if a customer decides to return something, you’ll run into issues if you don’t have a system already thought through. To prevent this, here are some tips for handling drop shipped ecommerce furniture returns. 

Try To Prevent Returns

In most cases, returns happen because the customer got an unexpected surprise. It’s either the wrong color, the wrong size, or it just doesn’t work for whatever reason. Making sure your product photography and descriptions are as accurate as possible, s well as providing measurements and measuring instructions should help prevent wrong size/wrong color returns. If the product is defective in some way, try to see if you can repair it rather than having the customer return it. Making every effort to provide good customer service can sometimes prevent returns and even when it doesn’t, you’ll still look good to your customer for trying.

Keep Transactions Between The Customer and You

When you open a furniture store with dropshipping as your delivery solution, your customers should feel as if they got the merchandise from you and are returning it to you if they have a problem. This is why all communication regarding the return should be kept between the customer and you. When you know something is going to be coming back, relay that information to the supplier to get a return authorization code and pass it on to the customer so you can keep track of the merchandise. 

Make Your Policy Uniform 

If you’re dealing with multiple drop shippers, policies may vary regarding the amount of time customers have to affect a return and the reasons for which they can do so. To ensure consistency across all of your product lines so you can post it prominently on your site, make your site’s return policy parallel that of the supplier with the most restrictive parameters. That way, you won’t have to vary your procedures and notifications according to individual products. Further, how ever many days that supplier allows for returns, quote only half as many to your customers to ensure you always have more than enough time to get the product back to the supplier.

Provide Clear Return Instructions

Part of your onboarding process with your dropshipping partners should be a discussion about handling returns. You can then develop step-by-step instructions for your customer to prepare merchandise to be returned. If you’re working with a number of different vendors, make sure you have the right address so items aren’t returned to the wrong supplier inadvertently. Since the product will be going directly to the drop shipper, it’s a good idea to have your customer take pictures of the furniture before shipping it, particularly when it is being returned because of a defect.

Stay In Communication

While at first glance a returned item might appear to be a pain with which you’d rather not be bothered, it provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate the efficacy of your customer service effort. Keep your customer informed every step of the way. Let them know when the furniture is received by the vendor and when they can expect to see their refund—or exchange. Similarly, you’ll want to keep close tabs on the supplier, to ensure you’re notified as soon as possible when they get the item to keep the process moving in a timely fashion. Handled well, a return might just help you pick up a customer for life.