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  1. #1
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    A Question For Merchants on Returns
    I tend to pick my merchant partners very carefully, and because of that, I rarely see commissions reversed back. I also don't deal with shoes and apparel TOO much (although I'm starting), so that keeps that number down as well.

    I did have a pair of boots get reversed yesterday. Very reputable merchant, and again, it's boots, and things happen. So no concerns there.

    My question is, if those shoes were returned for size reasons, and a different pair was shipped out, will I see a return adjustment anyhow?

    As a merchant, how do YOU handle these situations?
    Last edited by 2busy; May 31st, 2011 at 04:20 PM. Reason: changed prefix
    Kevin Webster
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  2. #2
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    I would think a merchant would still pay a commission, but most may not have a sophisticated enough affiliate program/manager to handle that granularity.

  3. #3
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    I would tend to agree with you on both counts. I wonder what the actual percentage of correctly handled situations is.
    Kevin Webster
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  4. #4
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    In our vertical we seldom get returns. If there is an error by the plant the order is simply re-printed. But we do catch a few fraud orders that get through the automated screening and we get the occasional cancellation. Those numbers have been few enough that (so far) we have never reversed a sale.

    We built in a little bit of a cushion to cover extraneous expenses. I like to think that if an affiliate sends us a paying customer it is our responsibility to take care of that customer - and not make the affiliate pay for our failure to do so.

    My latest fear is that fraud orders usually include in-plant rush and expedited shipping. That pushes our new commission payout, in some cases, to 100% or more of the product price. I don't know how many of them we can afford to eat. So, we'll be keeping a close eye on that.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  5. #5
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Decorative Ceiling Tiles - Does not do returns!
    Hello Kevin,

    I get about 1% of returns from my clients, where I charge 12% restocking fee. if they simply do not like the product or it will not work and there is nothing wrong with it.

    Sometimes I don't even charge the person any fees as I know I will re-sell it and just want to make them happy.

    So far I have not reversed a single sale due to returns and I will not do this. This is simply the case where I will bite the bullet, knowing that in the long run it benefits everyone.


  6. #6
    Affiliate Manager
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    Contact lenses have an extremely low return rate so it isn't an issue.

    For baseball/softball, we credit the affiliate the value of the replaced item so if someone replaces a $100 bat with a $150 bat, the affiliate will get commissions on $150. If the return goes from $100 to $75, it's credited at $75. We do not factor in shipping costs, restocking fees, or anything else into how we would credit the affiliate.

    We now offer free return shipping on Baseball Rampage so we expect affiliates to see more adjustments to commissions paid.

    Bob

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  8. #7
    Affiliate Manager Heather@Stacks's Avatar
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    I can see whether an item was a straight return, or an exchange (or even if it's replaced due to some kind of shipping damage). For Exchanges and Replacements the commission earned is not fiddled with.

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  10. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Kevin,

    Great thread this is turning out to be.

    Merchants, don't miss this opportunity to interact with us affiliates. Or have you not noticed that the most active merchants/AMs/OPMs seem to be getting the attention of the affiliates as of late?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  11. #9
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the responses so far. Looking forward to hearing from more merchants.
    Kevin Webster
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  12. #10
    Member SGFrazier's Avatar
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    My main returns are for defective merchandise (DVDs or CDs don't work), and in that case the customer doesn't return anything (why would I put that person through a return?) while I replace the defective merchandise and include a gift with the package in appreciation of the customer's notification.

    If I have sales that are ultimately returned, my affiliates still get the commission. The affiliates are screened, so I'm happy to pay them no matter what, and they also receive quarterly bonuses for high commissions.

    Shirley


  13. #11
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I have some merchants who do reverse commissions for returns/cancellations and some who don't. For the ones who do, most have a reversal rate around 1%. (None of these are apparel merchants - I don't work much with apparel.)

    Personally, I don't have a problem with either way of doing it. Of course I appreciate those who don't reverse any commissions, but I also don't expect my merchants to pay a commission on a high-price fraudulent order (and many fraudulent orders are high-priced).

    I did have a situation a year or two ago where an OPM had set up a product promotion and I generated a LOT of sales for it. It turned out that the merchant wasn't able to fulfill the orders, so they were cancelling all of them. The OPM called me to let me know what was going on and that he would be paying my commissions (about $1000!) on the cancelled orders out of his own pocket. I refused to let him do that, but I greatly appreciated the gesture.
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  14. #12
    Affiliate Manager
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    As a merchant we do reverse commissions on returned merchandise and all return authorizations and exchanges are handled by our call center sales staff. Several months ago I found there were exchange situations where the affiliate was not receiving credit for the replacement order so I started reviewing every returned or cancelled transaction so that I can make sure the affiliate receives appropriate credit for any exchange or replacement order that may have been shipped.

    In general, if an affiliate refers an order that does ship, I do what I can to make sure they receive appropriate credit.

  15. #13
    Affiliate Manager BAS Andre's Avatar
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    I am lucky in that we deal primarily with customized print-on-demand products. 99% of items are non-returnable, if there are problems with the printing we can simply reprint at no impact to the affiliates. We do have the occasional large order that gets canceled prior to printing, but this is very rare.
    Last edited by BAS Andre; June 27th, 2011 at 06:34 PM.
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  16. #14
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decorative Ceiling Tiles View Post
    So far I have not reversed a single sale due to returns and I will not do this.
    Thats great to know!! I been keeping an eye on my $454 commision I earned from your program last week hoping that the sale does not get reversed. I no longer need to keep an eye on it since you have this policy. Thank you!!
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!


  17. #15
    Affiliate Manager Decorative Ceiling Tiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    Thats great to know!! I been keeping an eye on my $454 commision I earned from your program last week hoping that the sale does not get reversed. I no longer need to keep an eye on it since you have this policy. Thank you!!
    So true my friend. Thanks for your hard work. :-)

  18. #16
    Newbie IanWS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    We built in a little bit of a cushion to cover extraneous expenses. I like to think that if an affiliate sends us a paying customer it is our responsibility to take care of that customer - and not make the affiliate pay for our failure to do so.
    Good 1, I do agree with you.

  19. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I did have a pair of boots get reversed yesterday. Very reputable merchant, and again, it's boots, and things happen. So no concerns there.

    My question is, if those shoes were returned for size reasons, and a different pair was shipped out, will I see a return adjustment anyhow?

    As a merchant, how do YOU handle these situations?
    There is a natural return rate in our niche (shoes). Even if you order a size that usually fits, there is a chance that your new pair will not fit, or the color will not match your purse, or the strap is too wide, heel too high or low, the sole is too slippy or too grippy etc..

    In our product range, we try to favor shoes that are less vulnerable to returns (straps with adjustable buckles etc), and our return rates are lower than typical.. But still there are returns.

    Generally, if a pair is returned for exchange, the exchange sale should fire the affiliate pixel, so the affiliate should earn revenue on the replacement order. If the cookie has expired, then this would not be automatic.

    As a shoe vendor, smaller than the bureaucratic giants in our field, we would work with you. We see you as a business partner, so we would gladly review the return, and pay a commission if there was an exchange ordered. Even if the cookie had expired, we would want to preserve our relationship.

    Contact your affiliate manager, ask them if they would be willing to help you. If they are not a good business partner, send you traffic to a vendor that appreciates your business!

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