How can I avoid returns?
Artfinder is committed to helping buyers own affordable art that they love, as well as helping independent artists make a living from their craft. To this end, we offer all buyers a free 14 day no risk money back guarantee across all orders transacted through the site.
We're proud that the current rate of return on Artfinder is less than 3% of all orders. Nevertheless, we understand how frustrating and disappointing it is to have your passionately handcrafted artwork returned, and we feel that this figure can be improved.
So what can you do as a seller to lower your personal returns rate?
There are four options that a buyer must choose from when requesting a return:
- The artwork arrived damaged
- The artwork was not as described in the listing
- I have changed my mind
With these options in mind, we recommend taking the following into consideration:
Showcase your packaging...
Let's face it, it really doesn't matter how much fragile-tape you embellish your packages with; what happens to your artwork in transit is beyond your control!
Thefirst step is to showcase that you have packaging down to an art! Make use of secondary images and your 'Me at Work' images and videos to reassure the buyer that you pay care and attention to the dispatch of your artwork.
Once you have dispatched the artwork, get in touch the customer via the Artfinder Messaging System as a matter of courtesy to let them know exactly how they can expect their artwork to arrive and to get in touch with you if any problems should arise. Remember, there's no price to good customer service, and it gives the customer the impression of professionalism and trustworthiness that may inspire another purchase in the future!
- Packaging by Lorna Doyan
...and pack your works well
The second step is to ensure that your artworks are well packed. You can mitigate damage by ensuring that both you and your artwork are adequately armed with sufficient packaging materials to ensure the safe transit to the customer. Not only that, if a customer decides that they do wish to send the artwork back, you can be reassured that it will be returned in packaging that you are happy with!
- Can the package be bent? If dealing with prints, you may wish to consider rolling in a solid tube, or wrapping in bubble wrap and dispatching in a hard-backed envelope. With larger works, you may wish to consider sandwiching the artwork between two boards and shipping in a reinforced box.
- How are the corners? A lot of the damage that we see to artworks is a result of damage to the corners. Many artists elect to add polystyrene corner buffers to the artwork to protect against any bumps.
- Is the artwork dry? It may sound obvious, but allow the artwork adequate drying time before packaging it up! Oils especially take longer than expected and may incur damage, even if they are transported and unpacked carefully.
- Packaged artworks by Rorie Nairn
Follow up with the customer
We alluded to it above, but if you are not already in contact with the customer via Artfinder's Messaging System prior to purchase, you may send them an additional courtesy message to let them know that the artwork has been sent by clicking on the 'Contact the Buyer' button on the Artfinder order. So many customers are excited to hear directly from artists themselves, and it shows that you care that the artwork that you have spent so long creating finds a loving home.
Not only this, a quick message is a great indicator of good customer service, and even if they do return the artwork, they're more likely to come back to you in the future, knowing that you care about the outcome of the purchase!
And of course, they're more likely to leave a favourable public review of their experience when it comes to reviewing the transaction!
Show your artwork in its best light
We've said it once and we'll say it again – there is nothing more important than ensuring accurate image reproduction in the images that you present on the Artfinder site. This is important for a customer to be able to envisage how the artwork will look, both in terms of scale and colour.
If the colour on your screen doesn't correlate with that of the artwork that you see before you, don't upload it to your shop. Think of it from a customer's perspective – you see an artwork that perfectly matches your décor in your home, but when it arrives the colours are less vibrant than expected...of course you would want to return it!
Similarly, the scale of your secondary images should accurately reflect the size of the artwork. If it appears bigger or smaller than in real terms, again, don't upload it to your shop!
Need more inspiration? We already have several guides on how to photograph your artwork with hints and tips from fellow Artfinder artists:
- Simple yet effective: Secondary images from Peter Walters
Check your listings
Is the description accurate? Are the materials and quality exactly as described? Is it definitely an original, or are you selling a print? And are the dimenions correct? There are so many questions to ask yourself when creating a listings, but taking the time to make it accurate is important to ensure that no customer is misled into buying something that they were not expecting.
So before publishing a listing on Artfinder, consider all of the following factors to ensure that all of the information made available to the customer is as accurate as possible:
- Is the description representative of the work itself?
- Did I definitely use those materials, tools and techniques?
- Are the tags accurate and relevant to that artwork?
- Are the dimensions correct?
- Is the price accurate? Or perhaps you're unsure of how to price your artwork, in which case, check out our guide to pricing.
Any discrepancy in the above can result in an artwork being returned – so do what you can to avoid it and create the perfect listing!
And if worse comes to worst...
As mentioned above, unfortunately there are extenuating reasons that may result in a return - whether the artwork is damaged in transit or a customer decides that they have changed their mind.
Part of Artfinder's free 14 day returns policy is that all returns are arranged and delivered back to you courtesy of us. This means that neither you nor the customer need worry about covering the costs of the return of the artwork.
If it does come to this, then ensuring a smooth returns process could work in your favour and inspire confidence in your customer service and professionalism. You never know - the customer may remember that you made the best of a bad situation and return to purchase at a later date!
- Make sure that you return address is up to date on your Seller Portal - this is the address to which we will send the artwork. Perhaps you are on holiday or unable to collect the artwork? If you wish for it to be sent to another address for any reason, get in touch.
- Ensure that all contact details are up to date - we will email you details of the return and may need to call you to arrange further details.
- Take on board any comments that you receive from the customer - whether this comes via the Messaging System or via a public review, do take the customer's comments on board and see if you might be able to improve your service next time to ensure that the next sale goes through!