This post is written by Elina Bumbiere, one of our Printful Customer Support Gurus and a self-proclaimed queen of puns.
We all know how challenging it can be to not have all the necessary or correct information when you’re dealing with a problematic situation. Even more so when you have to co-ordinate all of the communication with everyone involved, including your customer and your dropshipping and fulfillment service.
Having clear guidelines for the most common of these scenarios is a must that can not only help you sort through problems quicker but also provide a feeling of security for your customers, which can in turn lead to a higher purchase conversion rate. In this day and age store policy is one of the main key factors that can make or break your brand. In a survey by comScore and UPS, 63% of American consumers check the return policy before making a purchase.
Since you’re using Printful for your POD (print on demand) needs, we’ve selected our top 5 policies your store would benefit from copying.
These are the five topics we think you should cover in your store policy:
- Sizing charts
- Damaged items
- Lost in transit items
- International orders
How Printful Handles Returns
There are two different ‘returns’ concepts that we’d like to address – when the order is returned to us by the carrier, and when the order is returned by the customer.
Returned by the shipping carrier
The first is when an order is being returned to us by the carrier because they were not able to deliver the items to the provided address. Most commonly it’s referred to as the ‘wrong address‘. It happens if you or your end customer provide an address that is considered insufficient by the courier. Be extra careful with apartment numbers and zip codes! Don’t leave them out and double check the digits. You can use a simple tool like the USPS ZIP code lookup to make sure that the city in the address matches the zip code.
Another reason items are returned to is that they were ‘unclaimed’. If your end customer does not collect the item at the local post or a different pickup location, it will be returned. In most cases the shipment will be returned to our facility as it is the default return address. You can also customize this setting and have all packages be returned to a different address of your liking. If you choose to leave the default settings as is, we will be able to reship the returned items to a correct address. However, keep in mind that you will be liable for reshipment costs once we have confirmed an updated the address with you.
Returned by the customer
The other previously mentioned reason for returns is when the end customer returns the ordered items. Usually this is due to the incorrect size being ordered. It is best to advise your end customers to contact you before returning any products, because we do not refund orders for buyer’s remorse. You can implement size exchanges to your store policy, but please keep in mind that all size exchanges are to be offered at your expense and discretion. You would place a new order, at your expense, for an updated size if you choose to accept or offer size exchanges to your end customers.
Garment sizing info
Another matter you might want to include to your store policy is the garment sizes. Of course, you’re in control of what range of sizes you offer for your garments, however, different brands manufacture their products differently. Your customers are ordering products with a general idea of how the selected size should fit. A Medium is expected to fit like other size Medium shirts they’ve owned. However one manufacturer might not go by the same sizing chart as another. This, as you can imagine, can create some confusion when the ordered size does not fit as expected.
We’re doing the best we can to avoid any incorrect sizing issues by adding the garment size specifications to each product. You can view them by going to our products and pricing page and clicking on a product or by directly visiting the manufacturer’s page like this American Apparel page.
It’s possible that you or your customer might receive a damaged item. There are a handful of reasons why that might have happened. A manufacturer’s error, item was damaged during shipping or perhaps it has been a fulfillment error. As you already know, we do have quality control that the fulfilled products go through. As with everything, there is a possibility that we do let through an item that has defects. We will always take full responsibility for that as well as any other damages that were previously mentioned.
When you’re communicating with your customers about a damaged item they’ve received, please request that the first thing they do is provide photos of the unsatisfactory product and the packing slip. The same thing applies to your own orders that might have a damaged product. Our customer support will be able to get back to you quicker when you attach these photos to the official problem report. You can find a quick tutorial here that shows you how to report a problem to reach the most effective outcome.
The order never arrived
The same problem report is used to inform our customer support team of a lost in transit shipment. This is most common when dealing with international shipments that are sent out without international tracking, but can occur with domestic orders as well. Usually you see limited or no entries to the tracking log from the link we provide which indicates that the package might be lost. With international orders, since the package has no international tracking, it does not get scanned in each warehouse and location it arrives at, which makes it more prone to getting lost in transit. With domestic orders, it is most likely that the item was lost somewhere along the way to its next scanning point. The best thing to do when this happens to a customer’s order is to double check their provided address. Once you’ve confirmed it, get in touch with our support team by following the steps in the above mentioned video tutorial.
Everything you need to know about international orders
If the particular shipment had international tracking yet it seems to be lost, here’s what you do. Advise your customers to open up the tracking link we provided in the shipping confirmation e-mail and copy this number you see here.
This is the local tracking number that a vendor uses for the item once it arrives in the end customer’s country. Your customer can use this number to get in touch with their local post. Once they reference the local tracking number, the post should be able to determine the current whereabouts of the package. If your customer has no luck with finding the items, please submit an official problem report to your customer support. They will investigate the case and offer a solution.
These are just 5 of Printful’s policies that we would recommend that your store copy into your store’s policy. Since we are your fulfillment and drop shipping service, it is important that for the smoothest problem solving and communication we are on the same page with our policy.
To make communicating easier with your customers, we’ve put together website copy that covers returns, shipping, and damage policies. You can use the copy as a template and alter it to suit your own store’s voice, or you can feel free to copy and paste it directly into your store’s shipping policy section.
Do yourself and your customers a favor, get your store policy text here: