For E-Commerce Merchants, the Real Holiday Headache Comes With the Returns

This holiday season has broken the mold for anticipated consumer spending. Consumers are more connected to shopping than ever, with various retailers at their beck and call by way of their electronic devices. The hunt for the best deals on items began months, versus weeks, before the holidays, allowing consumers to research which retailers were offering the best options for their shoppers. Cyber Monday sales this year exceeded $2 billion in purchases made from a desktop computer alone – this does not even factor in mobile devices, which became the digital trend that affected the spike in sales.

Consumers have tailored their spending habits towards online spending, exhausting the efforts of online retailers.  Turning the tide from the normalcy of in store shopping, e-commerce merchants have reached more consumers than ever before with online deals and accessibility.

But with the online deals come customer dissatisfaction.  The 2013 holiday season reported 10% of all purchased merchandise was returned, and nearly $3.4 billion of the returns were marked as fraudulent.  Those returns usually fall into three different categories: online shopper overspending, buyer’s remorse, or friendly fraud.

The issue at the core of holiday returns is the chargeback process.  Consumers find the process of making a return too time consuming and therefore look to file chargeback with their bank. Amplifying this problem is that the benefit of the doubt is placed squarely on the shoulders of the consumer while merchants are left to deal with the fraudulent return losses. What consumers are unaware of are the repercussions of the chargeback process, and it is extremely costly for both the online merchants and the banks.

Merchants can direct consumers to helpful policies to ensure a stress-free return service of the item or purchase. How can merchants and retailers prepare for holiday returns? Merchants and retailers should employ a dispute mediator to seamlessly execute returns in an efficient manner. By partnering with a transaction dispute mediator, e-commerce merchants can obtain support for identifying fraud and reducing chargebacks initiated by an unsatisfied consumer.

A dispute mediation service such as eConsumerServices will enable the eligibility to prevent friendly fraud, an issue that affects both sides of the transaction: the merchant and the consumer. When friendly fraud occurs, merchants are plagued with a fee and blacklisted from providing the services they were designed to sell. On the other side, consumers are affected by the increase of price of the product or service they are looking to buy.  eConsumerServices directs consumers inquiring a return to a representative that will assist in a return or refund. The representatives provided by eConsumerServices strive to help consumers submit claims to obtain a secure refund.  This process alleviates the doubt in the system that often stresses merchants who have experienced fraudulent returns and consumers whom have dealt with awful customer service techniques.

This holiday season has exasperated all efforts of both parties in the transaction process; consumers are looking to buy more and online retailers have overloaded their products and services to suffice those needs. The clear solution to alleviating this holiday stress is to take precaution and employ a mediator who can satisfy the needs of both parties.

Contributed by Gary Cardone, CEO of 

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