Accuracy of Item Representation
inJanuary 29, 2008 - 12:35pm
When a customer purchases an item from an online seller, the item they receive should be exactly as it is described in the item listing. If the description states the item was made in 1960 or it is made of bronze, then it should be. If the item is damaged, then this should also be noted. Because a customer cannot hold an item in their hand and examine it carefully prior to making an online purchase, they must rely on the site owner to scrutinize important features, research it properly and report pertinent information accurately in the description.
Misrepresenting an item or failing to provide important information may ultimately result in the customer initiating a return request. Not only will the experience erode the buyers’ confidence when purchasing items from a specific online merchant but also it may result in the buyer foregoing making online purchases in the future.
Taking proactive steps to prevent an item from being returned because of a faulty description will go a long way in assuring the e-commerce experience is pleasant for both the buyer and the seller. Customers who feel they have been deliberately deceived are not happy customers, in fact, they are usually angry. Even if the omission of pertinent information is unintentional, the fault lies squarely with the seller, whom should be willing to correct the situation immediately.
What can you, as an online seller, do to help prevent buyer dissatisfaction?
Know What You’re Selling
Photographs and Plenty of Them
It is a good idea to keep online item listings available for review, including the description and the photos, until the item is delivered to the customer and you are confident the customer is satisfied with their purchase. Likewise, if a return is requested, you should consider retaining the listing online until the item comes back to you. With the original listing photos available for reference, accurate comparisons can be made, and you can quickly determine the item is in fact the original item shipped.
Describe All Damage, No Matter How Small
Finally, expecting a customer to ask all questions before making a purchase rather than anticipating their questions and answering them in advance in the items description is a major contributing factor to slow sales. Expecting a customer to be happy with an item that is misrepresented, especially with regards to authenticity or condition is unrealistic. Clearly, if you have described something incorrectly the customer shouldn't be expected to pay anything for your mistake and should be offered a hassle free return option, including free shipping.
Since a return for gross misrepresentation may end up costing you money, as well as time, your best defense against the boomerang purchase is to make every effort to fully and accurately inform the customer about an item, in advance.