Returns

ChannelEngine supports handling order returns, but the return process can vary, depending on the channel.

Generally speaking, there are three possibilities:

  1. The channel declares the return (e.g. after the customer has consulted the channel’s customer service or declared the return in the backend of the channel).
  2. The merchant declares the return (e.g. after the customer has consulted the merchant’s customer service)
  3. The channel does not support returns (e.g. affiliate channels with limited order integration)
Warning:  for many marketplaces there is a limited time span in which you can create a 'return' or refund. While ChannelEngine will accept returns even months after the initial shipment was exported, there is no guarantee the marketplace will still accept the return. Most marketplaces have a maximum return period between 21 - 60 days.

Channel returns

In this case we will import returns on a regular frequency / schedule (for example from bol.com) and create a return in ChannelEngine. This return will start with the status ' In Progress' (and not 'New') as the process is already started. This return can either be 'Accepted' or 'Rejected' (in some cases a partial return is also possible), which can be updated via specific plugins (not every plugin supports return handling at this time), the ChannelEngine order interface or our API (PUT /v2/returns).

If this return is accepted (by selecting ' Update', filling in the accepted and rejected quantities, adding an optional merchant comment and pressing '+ Update'), the return will be exported and its status changed to 'Received'. Once processed by the channel / marketplace, this will trigger a refund by the marketplace if all items in the return are accepted. If you reject the return however, the marketplace will usually mark it as 'does not comply to return conditions' and will not perform a refund.

In case of a channel return, the return reason will be supplied by the channel as they create the return.

Please note:  we can only create a return if a shipment exists, which in turn can only be created if an order exist. 

Updating returns

If a channel return is created in ChannelEngine and you received the actual return, you can change the status of the return to 'received' to mark the return as completed. To do so, press the 'Update' button below the return in the order view. This will open a 'popup' in which you can mark the accepted and rejected quantities. Don't forget to fill in both quantities (so 1 and 0 in case of 1 accepted return item), otherwise an error might occur when saving the update.

Merchant returns

Some marketplaces do not have an option to register returns directly, but do have the option to perform refunds. In that case you usually have to supply a return form in the box or submit your own return policy to the channel, like eBay or Coolshop, so the customer knows how he or she can returns the ordered items. 

In that case you will need create a (merchant) return via ChannelEngine. These can either be done through specific plugins, the order interface in ChannelEngine or via our API ( POST /v2/returns/merchant).

When creating a new return you can either create it with status 'In Progress' (you haven't received the return yet) or directly as 'Received' (you received the return). Only with that last status will it be exported to the marketplace to trigger a refund. If you mark the initial return as 'In Progress', you can set it to received in a similar way as displayed in the channel returns section.

No returns supported

In some cases refunds or at least automated refunds are not possible. An example would be Beslist. While they support orders, there is no support for shipments and returns. In that case you also might want to a create merchant return for overview purposes and handle the refund manually with the customer and / or the marketplace.

Frequently asked questions

How will I know what every channel supports return-wise?

While the information might not be available yet for every channel, if and how returns are supported will usually be displayed in the ' Channel Features' section of the specific marketplace guide.

I didn't get a return reported via the channel, but the customer did return it - how do I process this?

To take bol.com as an example: even though it is the regular procedure for customers to mark on or more items for a return on bol.com itself, some times customers return an item outside of this procedure. As bol.com does not offer the automated option to create a return, the only solution is to report it manually in the backend from bol.com. This procedure is similar for other channels that support channel returns.

When updating a 'channel' return the (empty) merchant return number field gets a red border

Because the 'popup' for handling returns is identical for both merchant and channel returns, there is a validation on the merchant return number text box. However, when submitting the update, the input from this field is only really validated and stored if it's a merchant return (with an actual merchant return number).

I am missing channel returns in ChannelEngine

Returns will only be saved / stored in case the original order is also known in ChannelEngine. See this article for more information.