If you’re a Walmart marketplace seller, you know that a smooth returns process is one of the most critical parts of maintaining a positive customer relationship. To provide a reliable all-round service for customers, you need a vigilant system in place to handle Walmart returns effectively.
But as a third-party seller on the Walmart marketplace, you probably already know how complex returns can be. They can be confusing and time-consuming. That’s why we’ve created this detailed guide on how to properly handle Walmart returns.
The good news is that you can get a fully automated return management service with a few simple clicks. More on that later. First, let’s look at how Walmart returns work.
Walmart Return Policy: How Do Walmart Returns Work?
If you operate a storefront on the Walmart Marketplace, you already know that returns work differently. While regular customers can make an in-store, postal, or scheduled home pickup return, customers of third-party sellers need a return label to make returns.
Originally, Walmart Marketplace sellers had to log in and upload a return label for their customers from their Walmart app. But this process wasn’t reliable and sometimes took days, weeks, or even months. Now, Walmart automatically generates return labels for third-party sellers on Walmart based on their return addresses.
In a nutshell, here is how Walmart returns work in 5 steps:
Step #1: Customer initiates the return
Customers can initiate a return either online through Walmart’s website or the mobile app.
Step #2: Return is processed
Once a return request is made, Walmart’s system generates a return authorization, and the customer is given a return label to print or a QR code to scan. The customer then attaches the return label to the package they are returning
Step#3: The package is shipped
The customer ships the package back to the seller.
Step #4: Return is received
Once the package is received by the seller, they inspect the item to ensure that it is in resellable condition.
Step #5: Return is processed
If the item is in resellable condition, the seller processes the return and issues a refund to the customer. If the item is not in resellable condition, the seller may dispose of, donate, or recycle it.
While this innovative method is fast and easy for buyers, it can be problematic for marketplace sellers. Especially sellers that use their home or office addresses to accept returns, as they seldom have space to store returned items or the time to manually fulfill future orders with these returned items.
Setting Up a Return Process
Setting up a return process is essential for any Walmart seller to ensure customer satisfaction and maintain a positive reputation. By providing a clear and efficient return policy, sellers can reassure customers that they will handle returns smoothly.
To start, sellers should establish a return window, which is the timeframe in which customers can return products after delivery.
This can range from 15 to 90 days, depending on the product category. Additionally, sellers should clearly outline the return method, whether it be through the Walmart Marketplace return center, by mail, or at the customer service desk.
Sellers should also decide if they will charge any restocking fees and clearly communicate this to customers.
To facilitate returns, sellers can provide a pre-paid return shipping label, allowing customers to conveniently return items. Finally, sellers should ensure that they have a consistent process in place for handling returned items, including inspecting them for damage and processing refunds or exchanges promptly.
Establish Clear Business Days and Return Windows
As a Walmart seller, it’s important to establish clear business days and return windows to effectively handle returns. Walmart offers a general return window of 90 days for most products, allowing customers ample time to return items they are not satisfied with. However, it is important to note that there are specific return windows for certain products.
For electronics such as computers, video game hardware, and portable video players, there are exceptions to the general return window. These electronics have a shorter return window of 15 days. This means that customers must initiate the return process within 15 days of receiving the product.
By establishing these specific return windows, sellers can ensure a consistent customer experience while managing returns effectively. It allows customers to have a clear understanding of the timeframe in which they can return their purchases, reducing any confusion or dissatisfaction.
It is crucial for sellers to communicate these return windows clearly to customers and make them easily accessible. Providing this information on product pages, in the return policy section, and during the checkout process can help customers make informed decisions and prevent any potential disputes.
Handling Gift Cards, Video Game Hardware, and Wireless Phones
Handling Gift Cards, Video Game Hardware, and Wireless Phones as a Walmart Seller
As a seller on the Walmart Marketplace, it is important to understand the specific return policies for certain items such as gift cards, video game hardware, and wireless phones. By familiarizing yourself with these policies, you can provide a seamless return process for your customers.
For gift cards, Walmart allows returns within 90 days of purchase. However, they are subject to certain restrictions. The card must have the original purchase receipt, and it cannot be redeemed or partially redeemed. Additionally, gift cards with a value of $250 or more cannot be returned.
When it comes to video game hardware, returns are accepted within 30 days of delivery. However, some restrictions apply. The item must be in its original packaging and in the same condition as when it was received. Items that are damaged or have missing components may not be eligible for return.
Wireless phones have a 14-day return window, starting from the date of purchase or contract activation. They must be in their original condition with all accessories and packaging included.
To ensure a smooth return process for your customers, be sure to carefully check the condition of the item upon return. Follow the specified return procedures, such as obtaining a return label from Walmart’s Seller Center or bringing the item to the customer service desk at a Walmart store.
Setting Up a Return Center or Using the Customer Service Desk
As a Walmart seller, one of the essential aspects of maintaining a successful business is handling returns efficiently. To provide a consistent customer experience, it is necessary to set up a return center or use the customer service desk.
To set up a return center, you must configure at least one location and provide a valid return center address. This ensures that customers can easily return their purchases to a designated facility where the returns are processed promptly.
Alternatively, you can utilize the customer service desk at Walmart stores as a convenient option for customers to return their items. This allows customers to have a seamless return experience by visiting a physical store and speaking directly to customer service representatives.
In addition to setting up a return center or using the customer service desk, it is crucial to offer various return methods to accommodate customers’ preferences. For instance, Walmart+ members can enjoy the convenience of return pickup from their homes, saving them time and effort.
Dealing with Flammable Liquids, Medical Equipment, and Other Exceptions
When it comes to handling returns as a Walmart seller, it’s important to be aware of the specific guidelines for certain products, such as flammable liquids and medical equipment. These exceptions require a special approach to ensure safety and compliance.
Flammable liquids and hazardous materials fall into the category of hazmat items and are generally not eligible for return to Walmart stores. To facilitate a safe return process, customers should contact the seller directly. This allows for proper handling and disposal of these products, minimizing any potential risks.
In the case of medical equipment returns, it is crucial to prioritize the well-being of the customer. Whether it’s a wheelchair, crutches, or other medical devices, it’s essential to provide clear instructions on how to process the return. Sellers should ensure that any necessary documentation, such as prescription or authorization forms, are accessible to the customer throughout the return process.
In addition to flammable liquids and medical equipment, there may be other exceptions to Walmart’s return policy.
For instance, funeral products are eligible for return only if they are damaged or defective. Additionally, certain media items like opened CDs, DVDs, video games, audio or video tapes, and Blu-rays can only be returned if they are defective.
Who is Responsible for Returns Costs?
The responsibility for Walmart returns cost depends on the reason for the return and the party at fault.
If the return is due to Walmart’s error, such as a shipping error or a defective item, then Walmart is responsible for the cost of the return and any associated fees.
If the return is due to the customer’s error, such as ordering the wrong item or changing their mind about a purchase, then the customer is generally responsible for the cost of the return and any associated fees. However, Walmart may offer free returns for some products or for customers who have a Walmart+ membership.
According to Walmart’s Marketplace Returns Policy, the seller is responsible for handling the cost of returns if the following product issues ensue:
- Defective or duplicate item(s)
- Damaged item
- Damaged shipping box
- Extra item(s) or quantity
- Incorrect item(s)
- Late arrival
- Less item(s) than ordered
- Missing parts or instructions
- Not-as-described items
- Poor quality
- Wrong size/poor fit
So it is important to determine the cause of the return to accurately determine the responsible party for the cost of returns.
How Can Walmart Sellers Handle Returns Properly?
Here are some guidelines to help you handle returns efficiently and effectively:
1. Authorize returns promptly
When a customer initiates a return, sellers should promptly authorize the return and provide the customer with a return label or instructions for returning the item.
2. Inspect returned items
Once a returned item is received, sellers should inspect it to ensure that it is in resellable condition. If an item is damaged or not in resellable condition, the seller should follow Walmart’s guidelines for disposing of the item.
3. Issue refunds promptly
Once a returned item is received and inspected, the seller should issue a refund to the customer promptly. Delaying refunds can affect your store on Walmart because a delayed refund can lead to customer dissatisfaction.
4. Monitor return trends
Sellers should monitor return trends to identify common issues with their products or shipping processes. This information can help you identify areas for improvement and reduce the number of future returns.
5. Employ the help of Returns Services
If you cannot manage your Walmart returns yourself, you can always use a returns service to help handle all the moving parts and complicated logistics that come with Walmart returns.
Ecom Circles Walmart Returns Service
Managing Walmart returns is not an easy business when you’re doing it alone. Without a robust returns process in place, Walmart marketplace sellers end up pouring unnecessary amounts of time into managing the returns themselves.
A poor returns process can produce unique challenges for dropshippers, as well. Suppliers have a relationship with you (rather than with your customers), and therefore often refuse to accept items returned by your customers.
This means the Walmart seller needs a space ready to store returned inventory, and a process to manage the items once they are returned. But all hope isn’t lost.
Understanding how to make Walmart returns efficiently in an eCommerce environment is critical. No matter what you offer, the best method to handle returns is to manage them quickly and efficiently. That is where Ecom Circles comes in.
With our smooth returns management service, you can improve the process of Walmart returns more easily than before. You can successfully manage your Walmart returns process with our returns management service.
Returns are inevitable and frequently take a long time. You risk losing time and compromising customer satisfaction unless you have a methodical approach to processing returns.
We understand how challenging it can get for third-party sellers and dropshippers to organize returns for their customers. So we’ve designed a Walmart return management service with you in mind.
Why Use Ecom Circles Walmart Return Management Service?
Here are some reasons why you should consider Ecom Circles Walmart returns service:
Fast and Easy Returns
We handle almost everything about the return process. Once you sign up for our return service, you’re well on your way to establishing a reliable return management system. We create a straightforward system for managing returns and organizing refunds for all our customers in a few easy steps.
Manage Unreturnable Items
We can store the returned item(s) in a warehouse of your choice, or dispose of it.
Ship Items Through WFS
If your WFS inventory has stayed in Walmart’s warehouses for a set period of time, you may incur long-term storage charges. Ecom Circles can help you to reduce these costs by accepting returned WFS inventory and storing it in our warehouses instead, without Walmart’s hefty long-term storage charges.
Retain The Item(s)
If items can’t get returned to suppliers, we will retain the items in our warehouse and help you ship them out to fulfill a new order.
How Does Ecom Circles Walmart Returns Service Work?
Returning items can be a big deal for your customers. They want to get the items they paid for, but if they’re not satisfied, it’s critical to help them in a quick and responsive manner. Fortunately, learning how to do Walmart returns efficiently is easy and can be done in just a few clicks.
1. Select A Destination
Once you join our return service, you’ll pick one of our warehouses as your return address. We’ll give you an address and a suite number that we will use to identify all your subsequent packages.
2. Open A Return
When you sign up, we will connect our software to your Walmart account so that you can make returns. Open a return with your supplier and upload the return label into our software, and we’ll take care of it from there.
3. Enjoy Full-Service Walmart Returns Management
Once you or one of your buyers opens a return, we automatically pull that return into our software through the application programming interface (API) connection with your Walmart account. When we receive your returns, we can store or dispose of the items according to what works best for you.