Why Dropshipping Returns May Not Be a Big Deal (And What to Do When They Happen)

Managing Dropshipping Returns

Handling dropshipping returns might seem scary, but don’t let fear and confusion over dropshipping returns hold you back!

The Ecommerce industry often gets a lousy rep for having high return rates. For apparel, return rates can be up to 40% (and we suspect the actual number is higher!). Ouch.

But when you’re doing high ticket dropshipping, your return rates will be considerably lower compared to low ticket. We’ve seen them as low as 1% in many of our dropshipping ventures, which is a tiny number in the grand scheme of things.

High ticket dropshipping returns happen less often for many reasons, and we’ll talk through those. We’ll also give you some ways to simplify returns and make your return policy works in your favor (yes, it’s possible!).

But first, let’s take a look at why returns are important in dropshipping.

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The Impact of Returns on High Ticket Dropshippers

We won’t lie: Handling high ticket dropshipping returns can absolutely affect your bottom line. A single return of a high-priced item might mean significant losses in shipping and restocking fees — unless you know how to make returns work in your favor (more about that below).

And it’s not just about financial fallout. The way you manage returns also shapes your online reputation.

Customers remember their experience when returning an item. A smooth, hassle-free process can win their trust, and they might just buy from you again or spread the word about how awesome you are to their friends and family. 

But if they have trouble returning products, they definitely won’t become a repeat buyer and might leave a negative review.

Striking a balance between minimizing returns and maintaining customer satisfaction is crucial. 

You need to:

  • Offer top-notch customer service 
  • Communicate transparently
  • Address returns right away
  • Set clear policies

Remember, it’s not just about the immediate transaction. It’s about building long-term relationships.

Even in the face of returns, there’s a massive opportunity to impress and retain customers.

The Benefits of Offering Returns

A good return policy means more trust. Customers are more willing to buy if they know they can return products easily.

A simple return process can also improve your business reputation. People talk, and simple, generous return policies get noticed.

Jon once had a business that was experiencing some returns, and they were affecting the business’s bottom line. His company was still profitable, but the returns were a hassle and cost them money.

So, they adjusted their return policy and added a fee customers had to pay to return an item.

Are you curious about what happened when they adjusted their policy?

Their sales plummeted. And we mean plummeted. They were even seeing less traffic to their product pages. The entire business seemed to come to a grinding halt. They were stunned at the effect of the change of policy.

Once they saw the data, they immediately pivoted back to offering free shipping on returns. They made it as easy as possible for people to return products if they were unhappy in any way.

With this shift, returns did indeed go up — but their sales went through the roof when they created a customer-friendly return policy.

What’s the lesson in this story? Your return policy is no small thing. It matters to your business, and can be a part of your success (or struggles).

How to Craft a High Ticket Dropshipping Return Policy

Creating a return policy for high ticket dropshipping items is incredibly important. Let’s talk about how to write up a dropshipping return policy that works for you and your customers.

Why You Need a Return Policy

A return policy isn’t just a formality. It’s an integral part of your business offer. 

Customers weigh many factors when deciding to buy, and perceived risk is a big one. 

Here’s the reality: Customers shoulder all the risk if you don’t have a return policy. 

They’re left wondering, “What if the product doesn’t work, or I don’t like it, or I change my mind?” and that fear can be a hurdle that prevents them from buying.

A robust, generous return policy soothes these fears and makes it easier for them to buy with confidence. It tells them you (as the dropshipper and business owner) are ready to bear some of the risk with them.

We understand that dealing with dropshipping returns sounds scary, but as an entrepreneur, you’re already stepping into a world with more risk than the average person. If you’re unwilling to accept any risk, this business might not be for you. Taking on risk is part of the deal. 

By absorbing some of the customer’s risk with a clear return policy, you boost their trust and can potentially raise your conversion rates. 

In short, a good return policy is a win for you and your customers.

Create a Return Policy for Your Dropshipping Store

Here are our guidelines for creating your dropshipping return policy.

  1. Start by checking your suppliers’ return policies. Some may be restrictive, others more flexible. You may not like all the terms you see, and that’s okay. Checking out their policies is still an excellent place to start.
  2. Research your competitors’ offers and see what they say about returns.
  3. Once you’ve got a sense of what your competitors are doing, blend all of your suppliers’ rules into one overall policy for your store that you feel good about (and that creates an enticing offer for your prospects). Remember that offering a better return policy than your competitors can be a big selling point. 
  4. Keep some flexibility when you’re implementing your policy. Not all customers are the same. Be ready to adjust based on the situation, but always have a clear baseline.
  5. Share the risk. Customers are more likely to buy if they feel they’ll have options during the return process and will be treated fairly. Create a return policy that shows the customer they’re not shouldering all the risk in the transaction.
  6. There are some dropshipping return policy templates online, but if you’re going to use one, make sure to customize it for your business.

How to Handle Return Orders

Occasional returns are inevitable, even in high ticket dropshipping. Here are a few ways you can manage them the right way, so you can uphold your business reputation and keep customers coming back.

The Three Primary Reasons for Dropshipping Returns
(And What to Do About Each One)

So, how do returns work with dropshipping? Here are the three main reasons a customer will ask to return an item:

  1. It’s a defective product.
  2. The item got damaged during shipping.
  3. The customer changed their mind for whatever reason (decided they don’t want it, maxed out their credit card buying it, etc.).

Let’s look at each of these in detail so you know exactly how to address them.

Hint: It’s a lot simpler than you think!

1. Returns of Defective Dropshipping Products

If something’s wrong with the product (if there’s a manufacturing defect or something similar), your supplier will have a process in place for replacing the item.

The great thing about high ticket dropshipping products is that they always come with a warranty, so if the item is defective or something’s not working, the customer can send it back directly to the supplier.

The supplier will send them a replacement, and it won’t cost you a cent.

In most scenarios like this, you’ll have to manage a bit of customer service to coordinate the return and get the new item into the customer’s hands. But it should be an easy, straightforward swap.

2. Damaged Product Returns

Similarly, if the product gets damaged in transit, the supplier or the shipping company will be responsible for the replacement. You’ll handle the customer service aspect of the transaction, but it won’t affect your out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Returns Due to a Change of Heart

When a client changes their mind about the product and decides to send it back, it’s a slightly trickier situation — but it doesn’t have to be a disaster! You just need to get a little creative.

In some cases, you’ll lose money if you send an item back to the supplier (unless the item is defective or damaged). You may have to absorb a restocking fee or pay for shipping.

Another option is to have the customer mail the item back to you, and you can use that product as an asset to market your business.

Think of it this way: When you first get started in dropshipping, you’ll use the same product photos as everyone else. These photos are what people will see on your product pages, emails, and other marketing materials.

But when a customer returns a product to you, you have the opportunity to take unique photos and videos of it and turn them into content for your business. Original marketing assets like this can really help you stand out.

Imagine what you could do if somebody returned a pellet grill to your house. There are thousands of pellet grill recipes to make and then record or photograph. You can then use those images and videos on your website, social posts, and marketing emails.

And when you’re done creating content, you can recoup most of the cost of the returned product by:

  • Donating it to a worthy cause or organization (make sure to let the media know if you do this — it can be promotional gold)
  • Giving it away on your website as part of a promotional contest
  • Offering it to a customer as an open-box special
  • Selling it on a third-party marketplace

With a little creative thinking, you’ll be thrilled to get the opportunity to have one of these high ticket dropshipping returns in your hands. A single return could bring in a lot of additional sales if you play your cards right.

How to Minimize Return and Refund Requests

Here are a few key ways to keep return and refund requests low:

  • Do high ticket dropshipping. When customers purchase high ticket products, they’re usually making a significant investment in their choice. This leads them to research extensively before committing. That means they’ll be more confident when they make the purchase. 


The result? Fewer surprises and disappointments once the product arrives. High ticket products also tend to be higher quality than their cheaper counterparts, so you’ll have fewer product problems.

  1. Optimize your product descriptions. Every product description needs to be detailed, accurate, and clear. This helps customers set the right expectations and know precisely what they’re getting.
  2. Check product quality: While high ticket items are generally higher caliber, you should do consistent checks. Partner with suppliers known for their quality, and consider ordering samples now and then to assess the product firsthand.
  3. Act on customer feedback. If you notice recurrent feedback or complaints about a particular product, address it immediately. You should also consider updating your product descriptions, switching suppliers, or making other changes based on feedback.

How to Reframe Dropshipping Returns as a Major Business Opportunity

Dropshipping returns are often viewed as a setback or loss. But what if we shifted our perspective and saw returns not as a roadblock but as an opportunity?

Returns aren’t as catastrophic as they might seem at first glance – especially in the high ticket dropshipping world. The return rate is remarkably low due to the nature of the products, and the in-depth research customers conduct before buying.

In any business, there will be unforeseen costs and challenges. Returns are just one of them. A few hundred bucks lost here and there shouldn’t deter your overall mission. Remember, you’re in it for the long game, and as with any game, there will be occasional setbacks.

Look at every return as an opportunity to understand your customers better. Feedback on returns can provide invaluable insights to improve your products or descriptions.

As we’ve discussed, returns can be a fantastic tool to help you create additional content or marketing material that helps you stand out in the marketplace.

You can also recoup your losses by selling returned products as open-box specials or on third-party websites.

Best of all, being responsive and handling returns professionally and efficiently can help build customer trust in your brand. A positive return experience can transform an unhappy customer into a loyal one who buys from you again and refers people to your store.

Don’t Be Scared of Dropshipping Returns

Returns are not the end of the world. They’re a natural part of Ecommerce. If you approach them with the right mindset, you can turn returns into a golden business opportunity.

Don’t let the fear of returns scare you away from creating a successful dropshipping business that enables you to live the life you want.

Want to know how to build and launch your own dropshipping store in just 30 days? Join our free on-demand training today, and we’ll walk you through the process step by step.

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Jon Warren about me

Article by Jon Warren 

Jon Warren started his first high-ticket dropshipping business 7 years ago and hasn’t looked back.
  • Worked with 400+ Ecommerce business owners to help them grow their business
  • Started 3 high-ticket dropshipping businesses that reached 7 figures per year in revenue
  • Managed marketing for his and his clients’ businesses that has produced 117,000 high-ticket purchases for an estimated value of $120.5M

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