How to handle Print On Demand Returns on Shopify!?

October 19, 2021
| by David Miles

As a Shopify online retailer, handling returns is essential to providing exemplary service for your customers. Print on demand products is unique, however, in that they are made-to-order to specifications provided by the customer. There is no inventory to return or resell to another customer. For this reason, it can be challenging to determine the right course of action for print-on-demand returns. This article will address how to handle Shopify print-on-demand returns and recommend best practices to follow during each process.

Work with your POD supplier to determine their return policy.

Not all print-on-demand suppliers will have a set policy. If they do, follow the guidelines issued by the supplier precisely as they are explained in detail there. Your process should not change depending on who you use for your POD production! That said, be sure to check with your supplier about any questions you may have regarding returns.

Return vs an exchange or store credit

Determine which products require a return versus an exchange or store credit. Generally, suppose the customer’s request for product changes after the print on demand has been submitted. In that case, an exchange for another printed product is available (actual turnaround time will vary by supplier). If, however, the customer changes their mind about what they are looking for, you can offer them a store credit or refund.

Know your supplier refund options

Determine whether your supplier offers a partial refund option on returned products or exchanges. If they do not, you can offer them 75% of the original cost of the order in exchange for the product. This may be the only option you have if your supplier does not offer refunds.

Should you charge a restocking fee?

Many suppliers do not charge for returned products or exchanges of undamaged products, but some do. This is especially true when customers return items without consulting with their provider beforehand. If your supplier has a restocking fee, clearly communicate the price and when it will apply.

Communicate return policy guidelines to your customers before they make their purchases.

Communicate return policy guidelines to your customers before they make their purchases. This is especially important if you use a product image that may not reflect the actual print-on-demand product. For example, POD products typically have a lower resolution image, smaller sizing options and are not exactly as shown in the product’s picture. If this is your policy, be sure to communicate it clearly to customers before they make their purchase or perhaps through pop-up messages on your site explaining what POD products will look like.

Keep track of POD returns

Do not simply discard the returned product, even if nothing is wrong with it. The customer may have made a mistake when submitting their orders, and your Shopify POS will show you which charges are related to that order number. Store these returned products in a safe place where customers or other employees cannot handle them until you have a chance to call the customer and offer them an exchange or refund.

Process returns/exchanges as quickly

To best serve your customers and retain their loyalty, process their return or exchange as quickly as possible. You can ship out the product they want in trade free of charge, then issue a refund for the returned product. This will keep them happy and make them want to do business with you again in the future, whereas dragging out the handling process will only frustrate them more.

In conclusion, Shopify print-on-demand returns can be difficult to balance when trying not to upset your customers. By working with your supplier and following the tips listed in this article, you will be able to navigate through any print-on-demand returns smoothly!

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