Anyone selling goods has made some mistakes and avoided others by talking to different brands, notes Tanya Menendez, COO and co-Founder of Maker’s Row, Maker’s Row is a Brooklyn-based online marketplace for American manufacturers with a network of over 5,000 manufacturers and 45,000 designers and brands looking to create products in the USA. Before Maker’s Row, Menendez managed operations within Google, Goldman Sachs and a leather goods line, The Brooklyn Bakery.
If you’re in the retail or e-commerce business, here are her top landmines to look out for, and how to handle them:
1. Chargebacks From Customers and Retail Stores
From customers: A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a charge on his or her own credit card bill, usually after their card has been used fraudulently or if they never received the merchandise they paid for.
Chargebacks can be a huge headache for business owners and can lead to fees and lost inventory. Thankfully, you can minimize them if you take these preemptive steps: Always accurately describe your goods so customers know exactly what they’re paying for. Unrealistic expectations can make for unhappy customers. Use a delivery service that has a tracking service so claims of an undelivered product can be definitively confirmed or discounted.
Clearly lay out your return policy to minimize potential misunderstandings. Make contact information such as your phone number or email address easy for customers to find. This makes it much more likely that they’ll go through you, rather than a credit card company, to resolve their disputes.
From retail stores: Occasionally, if you do not package your products correctly or based on the agreement you signed with a retail stores or distributor, you may receive a chargeback. It’s important to read any agreement you sign very carefully and make sure you are crystal clear with any requirements you need to follow.
Freight chargebacks, for example, freight Agreement: “We have a Freight Agreement on file for your vendor number or the PO specifies that the vendor will pay some or all of the freight charges.” Purchase Order or Routing Guide violation: “To discuss your chargeback, please contact the distribution center to which merchandise was shipped.”
2. Over-Promising Timelines
What can you do if you’re faced with an unforeseen shipping delay or your product sells out and isn’t available to a customer who just ordered it? If you over-promised on your timeline and aren’t able to deliver your goods, you could end up damaging your relationship with a customer or a store. That’s why it is so important to remember: under-promise and over-deliver.
Under-promising timelines does not mean you should set the bar low for your brand. Rather, it is a smart way of managing expectations and efficiently delivering on promises. Set realistic deadlines and take into account potential obstacles or setbacks that could prevent your customers’ expectations from being met (under-promise). Your customer will then be thrilled if they receive their package early, get great customer service, or receive an exciting extra like free stickers or your innovative packaging (over-deliver).