Monday, 11 May 2015

Growing Pains

Part of growing any business is dealing with stock and damage.
One of the first things Etsy tells you is that you must write your policies clearly. This is to protect you as a seller and to let buyers know what to expect.  This does not, however, take into account human emotions.
I recently sold and mailed an expensive handbag to a client, I have mailed 5 in the same manner, this one however arrived severely damaged. Despite my policy of no refunds for goods damaged in transit, I did refund the client as I felt so so so so  bad about how severely damaged the bag was. Thank goodness this has never happened with any other item before! I do however have something in place for customers who's items are not totally happy with their purchase (it is something that will only be revealed to the customer with a genuine issue/complaint).

I have listed my policies below for others to use as guidelines.

This is my Shipping Policy.

We ship through the South African Postal service as they are the most cost effective, their shipping time is 10 working days but it can take up to 8 weeks, if your order has not arrived in this time frame please let us know, so we can try and follow up . If you would like insurance or express delivery please email me before placing your order so that we can get a quote and inform you of the cost of this. All shipments will have a tracking number so that you can follow your purchase to your door. Once the parcel lands in your country the Postal Service of that country takes over and we cannot say how long it will take from there to reach you.

I understand theoretically it was not my responsibility to refund the client but emotionally for me I needed to and I feel better for it.  I have made a promise to myself to avoid this in the future (in the event something similar to this ever happens again).

When you write a policy for your business it is good to look at other shop's policies to give you and idea, they may have thought of something you didn't. Theses are my policies which cover the most important aspects of online shopping. In your policies you need to cover the following things:

Your business philosophy:- This is mine:

Welcome to Adiesdesigns, we are committed to creativity of all kinds, but especially the kind you can wear. We believe in up-liftment of the disadvantaged and therefore we donate $10% from each sale to charity that addresses this issue. We do not support one specific group but try to spread the wealth, if you have a specific South African charity that fits with our criteria that you would like us to give to please feel free to ask when you place your order. No politically affiliated charities allowed.

Payment options and cancellations-:
We accept PayPal for all international sales. We charge a cancellation fee of $2 (donated to charity) if you cancel your order within 48 hours, no cancellations after this as we try to have your goods shipped by then. For South African buyers we accept EFT's but please allow 3 working days for payment to  reflect, No goods will be shipped without payment.

Refund Policy:- what happens if the client is unhappy with their purchase. This is my refund policy.

We will gladly refund your purchase, (minus the shipping fee) within 60 days of you placing your order, all  you need to do is let us know what is wrong and why you wish to return the purchase. We are not responsible for loss or damage caused in transit and take every precaution to package the goods safely. Our watches fit wrists of 17 cm /6 1/2 inches, if your wrist is bigger or smaller please let us know when you place the order. if the size is wrong we will not refund your money without proof that you supplied this information

I understand theoretically it was not my responsibility to refund the client as the parcel was in good shape when it left, the parcel was packaged in exactly the same manor as all my previous ones and it was damaged in transit, it is also written in my refund policy, but emotionally for me I needed to and I feel better for it.  I have made a promise to myself to avoid this in the future (in the event something similar to this ever happens again).

I think with the South African Post office I have been lucky as it is almost a standing joke on how inefficient they are and how much goes missing (although I think this is more incoming than outgoing parcels, I am still waiting for a parcel from US after 8 weeks).  I like to follow up on my orders and the tracking number helps with this, although it does not always show where the parcel, I sent one to England and the tracking number says it never even left the post office, but my client has her item! The other thing South African online companies have to deal with is the inconsistency of pricing unless they use a courier.  I send my parcels the same way every time and at one post office they charged my +/- $18 for shipping, the next time I sent the exact same item to the same country from a different post office and they charged me $12. I now only go to the cheaper post office! UPS, DHL and other courier services charge more than  my most expensive item! So the postage is more than the product.

Learning to be a business mogul is hard work, learning to price your items is an experience assessing your self esteem, and making products that sell is a lesson in the "every pot has a lid" theory. I will cover other aspects of business that I am learning in the coming months.

REMEMBER: 12 MAY IS NURSES DAY and I am offering free shipping on all items $10 and over for that day only in honor of International Nurses Day.  Just enter the coupon code 05121820.

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