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Snapdeal buyers can soon get in touch with sellers for returns
By Shambhavi Anand, ET Bureau | Jul 30, 2016, 04.46 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Online marketplace Snapdeal will soon allow buyers to contact sellers directly if they are not happy with the product, a move aimed at reducing the high rate of merchandise returns. 

A buyer will be able to send a message directly to the seller before initiating a return or cancellation. 

Snapdeal said the facility will give the sellers concerned a chance to resolve the issue and avoid merchandise return in some cases. 

"Buyers can now message seller before cancelling or returning an order. Sellers can reduce cancellation and returns by replying to buyer message," the online marketplace told its sellers. 

This facility, however, is optional and sellers can choose not to receive communication from buyers. 

Snapdeal declined to comment on the development. While the ecommerce marketplace has communicated to the sellers about the launch of the new feature, it will convey the same to buyers in a phased manner. 

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Most sellers ET spoke with said they are happy with the feature. 

"We sellers are glad that Snapdeal has brought a much-needed feature. This will help us control the metrics and reduce unreasonable returns," said a spokesperson of the All-India Online Vendors' Association, a grouping of about 1,000 medium and large sellers on various online marketplaces. "At the same time, it will help sellers know consumer perception towards their products." 
Sellers on online marketplaces have been complaining of high rate of merchandise returns — it is as high as 50 per cent in some categories, including electronics, mobile phones, mobile accessories, apparel and jewellery. 

This means high cost of reverse logistics, blocked inventory and, thereby, losses for sellers whose businesses are mostly small and medium-sized. 

Sellers have also complained of irrational returns and deception, saying they, at times, receive damaged products from buyers. 

To check the rising cases of returns, ecommerce companies have reduced the window during which customers can return products and made return policies more stringent. 
In June, Flipkart revised its return policy by reducing the 30-day window to 10 for some categories. Snapdeal too, revised its return policy and said it will bear the cost for reverse pickup and payment collection, while packaging and shipping will be borne by the sellers. 

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