Dealing with Amazon returns is one of the biggest thorns on the side of third-party sellers, who often bear the brunt of returns costs and end up taking back unsellable items that eat into their precious FBA warehouse allocation.
To address this issue, Amazon has quietly rolled out a new feature that alerts customers if a certain product is returned frequently, reducing risks of getting low-quality items and unnecessary returns.
Related Reading: The Seller’s Complete Guide to Amazon Returns
According to The Information, Amazon has started slapping a label on certain products to inform customers if the item is returned often. The warning advises customers to check the product details and customer reviews before making a purchase.
“We're currently showing return rate information on some product detail pages to help our customers make more informed purchase decisions,” an Amazon representative confirmed with the publication.
The label is very easy to spot visually and can be seen right below a product’s About information section.
Although the feature is intended to help customers make better informed purchases and avoid the extra errand of having to return products that were not what they expected, it is also a welcome touch for sellers, who end up throwing over 25% of all returned items at their own expense.
Additionally, considering Amazon’s very lenient and customer-favored returns policy, ecommerce returns are considered an environmental concern, as returned goods that are very often unsellable often end up hogging warehouse space and are eventually dumped in landfills. Many sellers have to get creative to recoup some of the costs and liquidate return inventory through Amazon return pallets.
This initiative to accommodate significantly fewer returns and reduce return costs may also be part of Amazon’s efforts to make its logistics network more efficient, in particular, its plans of scaling back its sprawling logistics network as revealed in its Q4 2022 earnings report, not to mention that it lowers the company’s manpower requirement, which is rather convenient since it has laid off an estimated 27,000 employees over the past six months.
The new warning could also help Amazon address the flood of bogus reviews on its site day-to-day, as it forces customers to go over product reviews before hitting the buy button—thereby making solid reviews and star ratings all the more important for sellers, too.
On the other hand, some sellers have expressed concerns that Amazon may be too quick to punish smaller businesses for selling products that have been returned a number of times, as the warning is expected to reduce sales and conversions for specific items. Customer returns can also be an actionable point that informs small businesses in terms of their product development strategy.
As of writing, the “Frequently returned” label has only been observed on certain products in Amazon’s US marketplace, but, as with most other Amazon features, it could soon find its way into other Amazon marketplaces.