I have just finished my least favourite job in the shoe trade, sorting out all the returns. I have talked about dealing with customer complaints before, but not about what happens to the returns after the customer has been refunded.
It seems every supplier has a different view on returns and very different ways of dealing with them. Years ago I can remember our business sending shoes back nearly every week. In fact, it was my Job, as the junior, to pack each pair up in brown paper and string the parcel up. Then I had to take this huge pile to the post office. Each parcel had a small pink slip which was the Proof of Postage. We then waited for the supplier to raise a credit and we would also claim the postage back on each pair. What a faff.
Nowadays, things seem to have become slightly easier, but I feel with a bit of co-operation from suppliers we could make it even simpler. Every supplier seems to have a different system. Some have their own returns form which doesn’t match ours, others make you contact them first and they give you a returns number, then there are those who only want a photo and lastly those who say don’t bother with returns we will give you a 2% discount for no returns.
I personally feel the best solution to returns is a simple form to fill in which could be universal as everyone wants the same information and then a photo to back up the fault. As soon as you get the credit you destroy the shoes.
That’s all fine for worn returns but what happens when they are new stock? This is where the fun starts. What is a genuine fault with new stock? Some suppliers only allow 14 days to report faults. That’s Ok if you check every pair as they are delivered but that is nightmare for small independent retailers, what about odd sizes, actually one or our readers has written to me asking about this.
I have always been of the view, if you have odd sizes in your shop it is down to the shop staff not the supplier. Well, I am sorry to say I am wrong. My shop staff have proved me wrong on three occasions this season.
So, we come to how suppliers react to returns. I would have to say 99% of all my suppliers are excellent at accepting returns. Sometimes you get a difficult customer and when you speak to the supplier they always say “We will support you 100% “. The bit they aren’t quite as good at is organising the collection of the returns. You speak to the rep and he says “no problem we will arrange collection” nothing happens, so you speak to the office, no problem we will arrange collection. Then you get the, please put this number on the box and use this address and still the carrier doesn’t turn up so in the end you arrange the carrier yourself and the supplier isn’t happy when you try and claim postage.
As for the odd sizes subject, I can’t personally answer this as this is the first season I have returned any and as yet haven’t received the credits. What I can say about odd sizes is that they sell really well in the sale with an acceptable reduction. As long as the 2 shoes look like a pair and are only 1 size different, we usually get around 60% of the original retail price back. What is really annoying is the number we seem to accumulate, even after those that have been sent in wrong from the supplier!
Pull Quote: What I can say about odd sizes is that they sell really well in the sale with an acceptable reduction. As long as the 2 shoes look like a pair and are only 1 size different, we usually get around 60% of the original retail price back.