Online shopping is risky, especially for first-time shoppers visiting your store.
What if the products don’t fit right? What if I typed in the wrong shipping address? What if the order gets lost in transit?
All those questions storm through your customer’s mind before they place an order.
Having policies in place can calm those storms of doubt your customers might have. Store policies give an extra boost of confidence in shoppers because they see that if something should happen to their order, the store owner has already covered it.
We’ll explain why store policies are just as important for your business as the products you sell. We’ll talk you through all the policies we have and share step-by-step guides on how to deal with issues your customers may have with shipping, returns, and damaged goods.
Simply put, store policies create a sense of security for customers when they’re buying something from you, especially since they can’t try on the product beforehand.
They’ll know what to expect if something goes wrong with their order, or if the product doesn’t fit properly. Store policies will also help you sort through problems more quickly because you’ll already have a protocol to follow.
As a store owner, it’s up to you which policies to offer to your customers. But if you do use Printful for fulfillment and POD, we recommend basing your policies off our own. You can customize these policies to fit your store’s tone of voice, and be stricter or more liberal with refunds and returns.
Let’s dive in the possible reasons for returning orders and how you can address them with your customers.
If the carrier isn’t able to deliver the items because of the wrong address, or if the package was unclaimed by your customer, it’ll be returned to the default return address.
For Printful orders, this means that they’ll be sent back to the facility that sent them out. When that happens, you’ll get an email from us that your order arrived back at our facility. We’ll then hold on the order for 28 days at no cost. During this time, contact your customer.
Reach out to your customer with this message:
We were notified that your order is being returned by the shipping carrier because [reason]. If you want us to reship the order, please confirm your address.
In most cases, orders are sent back because customers provide an address that’s incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. To minimize problems with addresses:
Sometimes customers might want to return their newly purchased products. Usually, it’s because they’ve ordered the wrong size or just don’t want the items anymore.
Advise your customers to contact you before returning any products. That way, you’ll be able to ask for the return reason and share the customer’s options on how to proceed with the order.
There can be various reasons why customers would like to return their orders, so we’ll give you a couple of responses you can use.
At Printful, we pride ourselves on unparalleled product quality. That’s why all our orders go through a 3-step quality check before we ship them out. However, if a damaged or mislabeled item was accidentally let through our quality control, or was damaged during shipment, we take full responsibility and provide a free replacement (unless the print came out poorly because of a low-quality print file).
Here’s what we recommend when communicating with customers about damaged or mislabeled items.
Printful only offers refunds for damaged or mislabeled products, not for buyer’s remorse. But it’s up to you how you want to approach this—refund the customer or not.
If you want to offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs.
If you won’t offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, then, kindly let them know that you won’t be able to refund them.
Wrongly ordered sizes won’t be eligible for refunds from Printful’s side either. We make everything on demand, so requesting a size exchange would mean producing an entirely new product.
If you want to offer size exchanges and refunds to your customers, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs and you’ll need to update your return policy accordingly.
Reach out to your customer:
We’re sorry to hear that you ordered the wrong size. Accidents can happen, so we’re glad to offer you a size exchange. Let us know the size you want to exchange for and we’ll be happy to reship the product for you.
Review your product descriptions, as they set expectations and helps you customers understand what they’re buying. The more detailed information (and photos) you give about the product, its quality, and the fit—the more satisfied your customers will be!
Now that we’ve covered Printful’s return policies, let’s talk about lost orders. All of Printful’s shipping methods have tracking, although the accuracy may differ for some carriers. If it’s past the estimated delivery date and your customer still hasn’t received their order, the package might be lost in transit.
Find the tracking link in one of our order notification emails and look at the tracking log.
If you see limited or no entries in the tracking log, the package was most likely lost in transit (jump to Step 2).
If you do see entries in the tracking log, then advise your customer to wait a little longer:
We just checked that your package is still being tracked and it’s supposed to arrive by [date]. According to tracking, it might just be stuck at some point during the delivery. Please give a couple of more days for the package to show up. If the package still hasn’t arrived, let us know no later than 30 days after the estimated delivery date.
Reach out to your customer to check that they entered the correct shipping address:
May we please ask you to double-check the shipping address you used for this order? Let us know if it was correct or send us the updated address.
If the customer’s shipping address was correct and the order still hasn’t arrived, submit a problem report and our customer support will find a resolution for you. We usually cover the costs of reprinting and shipping replacement orders.
If the shipment’s tracking states that it was delivered, but your customer hasn’t received it, Printful won’t cover the cost of reshipping or refunding the order.
Sometimes packages can be left in an unexpected location at the customer’s address so it’s worth checking up on.
If your customer can’t locate the package, you can place a new manual order to have it reshipped at your expense.
Explain to your customers what they can expect from your business—it’ll only make them feel more comfortable when making a purchase. And if a problem does arise with their order and the resolution is quick and painless, it’ll encourage their loyalty!
Store policies are designed to protect you, the seller, and your customers, but they don’t have to be long or complicated. We prepared a clear and concise website copy that covers returns, shipping, and damage policies. You can use it as a template and edit it to suit your own store’s voice and policies you want to implement, or you can just add it as is.
Do yourself and your customers a favor, get your store policy text below!
This article was originally published in April 2016; it has since been updated.
Una specializes in third-party logistics and knows Printful's Warehousing & Fulfillment services from A to Z. She enjoys digging deep into marketing psychology and developing her creative writing skills.
Printful is a printing and dropshipping service with fulfillment centers located all over the world. We help people follow their passion and turn ideas into brands and products.
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