About this article
This article describes the returns process on ChannelEngine, including best practices and common scenarios.
Table of contents
ChannelEngine supports the handling of order returns, but the return process itself varies per channel.
There are four possibilities:
- The channel declares the return - e.g.: after the customer has consulted the channel's customer service, or declared the return in the channel's back-end.
- The merchant declares the return - e.g.: after the customer has consulted the merchant's customer service.
- The channel does not support automated returns - e.g.: affiliate channels with limited order integration, or channels that handle returns manually.
- The channel declares and handles the return for a marketplace-fulfilled order - e.g.: the order was fulfilled via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), and returned to Amazon.
ChannelEngine imports returns at a regular frequency. Returns start with the status In progress – not New, as the process has already started. Returns can either be accepted or rejected, though in some cases partial returns are also possible. Accepting and rejecting returns can be done through certain plugins, the ChannelEngine order interface, or ChannelEngine's API – the latter via
If the return shown above is accepted, by selecting Update, filling in the accepted and rejected quantities, adding an optional merchant comment, and selecting + Update, the return is exported and its status changes to Received.
Once processed by the channel, it triggers a refund if all items in the return are accepted. If you reject the return, the channel marks it as 'Does not comply to return conditions' and does not process the refund.
The return reason is provided by the channel, as they create the return.
If a channel return is created on ChannelEngine and you received it, you can change its status to Received to mark the return as completed. To do so, select Update below the return in the order view. This opens a popup in which you can mark the accepted and rejected quantities. Do not forget to fill in both quantities (i.e.: 1 and 0, in case of a single accepted return item), otherwise an error might occur when saving the update.
Some marketplaces do not offer the option to register returns directly, but do offer the option to process refunds. In this case, you have to provide a return form in the parcel or submit your own return policy to the channel, so the customer knows how they can return the item.
To do this, you need to create a merchant return via ChannelEngine. This can be done through certain plugins, the ChannelEngine order interface, or ChannelEngine's API – via
You can create a return with status In progress (i.e.: you have yet to receive the return) or directly as Received (i.e.: you have received the return). Only then the return is exported to the channel 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.
Some marketplaces offer order fulfillment services. More information on this can be found on the article External fulfillment: FBA, LVB, FBC, and ZFS. Buyers can return items fulfilled externally as easily as via your own service, with the added benefit that the marketplace handles the entire return process. However, these returns are only imported to ChannelEngine if the marketplace supports this feature. E.g.: Cdiscount supports fulfillment, but does not submit return information.
These returns are for administration purposes only, similar to marketplace-fulfilled orders, and are marked with a Received status. They can be identified on ChannelEngine by the Fulfillment by label.
In some cases, refunds (or at least automated refunds) are not possible. Beslist, for instance, supports orders, but there is no support for shipments and returns. In this case, you may want to create a merchant return for overview purposes, and handle the refund manually with the customer and/or the marketplace.
It is also possible that a channel supports returns, but not in an automated way. Miinto, for example, allows merchants to submit and process returns through their customer service. ChannelEngine cannot offer automated returns in this case.
- What is the difference between 'Created date' and 'Return date'?
While Created date is a timestamp of when the return was created on ChannelEngine, Return date is a timestamp of when the return was created in the source system (i.e.: the marketplace). Note that Return date is only set and displayed if that data is available.
- How do I know what each channel supports return-wise?
While this information might not be available yet for every channel, if and how returns are supported is displayed under the Channel features section of the each marketplace guide.
- I did not get a return reported via the channel, but the customer did return it. How do I process that?
Even though it is the regular procedure for customers to mark on or more items for a return on bol.com, for instance, sometimes customers return an item in different ways. As bol.com does not offer the automated option to create a return, the only solution is to report it manually in bol.com's back-end. This procedure is similar to other channels that support channel returns.
- When updating a channel return, the empty 'Merchant return number' field gets a red border. What is that?
Because the popup to handle 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 validated and stored if it concerns a merchant return – with an actual Merchant return number.
- I am missing channel returns on ChannelEngine. What do I do?
Returns are only saved when the original order is also known on ChannelEngine. Check out the article Why are some of my returns not visible on ChannelEngine? for more information.