If you own an online business that sells its products on Amazon, you know that product returns are one of the biggest pain points for the platform’s sellers. Sending back an Amazon purchase has never been easier for customers–Amazon returns can be dropped off at major retail chains without boxing them up or even printing a label.
While Amazon does not disclose the number of items returned each year, the National Retail Federation estimated that in 2021, the average return rate for online sales was nearly 21 percent. This high return rate is problematic not only for sellers, but also for our planet.
Despite attempts by Amazon to set up programs for reselling or donating returned items, they often find their way to the dumpster. Beyond the ecological impact of Amazon’s lenient return policies, this is a substantial financial strain for sellers, especially small businesses.
Every seller has probably wished that customers had a way to reach out for product support before they choose to send items back.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a button on the Orders page that drives customers to your support page or directly to a phone call with you?
Guess what: this option is, in fact, available with the “Get product support” button highlighted in yellow.
More than just another feature, this is a notable shift away from Amazon’s well-known policy to never share customer information with sellers. This service refers customers directly to the brand support page or telephone service, removing Amazon from the customer service loop.
It’s also important to note that the “Get support” button can also be found on your previous orders, not just your currently open ones. This means that once the “Get product support” button is available for your brand, customers can contact you even if they purchased your product several years ago.
What’s behind this program, and how can you ensure that it’s available for your brand? Read on for answers:
What is Product Lifecycle Support?
The Product Lifecycle Support (PLS) program is an initiative of Amazon’s Worldwide Returns, ReCommerce, and Sustainability WWRR&S team, which is dedicated to helping customers get the most out of the products they buy while diverting waste from landfills. According to Amazon, products that offer PLS have seen an increase in overall customer trust and an average of 60 percent prevention of unnecessary returns.
At this point, it’s available for brand owners and is an excellent way they can position themselves as providers of great customer service. At Wise Commerce, we’ve already submitted several customers to the program and are currently testing the effects of the “Get support” button on important account metrics like return rate and NCX.
What’s included in the Product Lifecycle Support program?
There are currently four ways to provide help to customers using the Lifecycle Support feature:
1. Manufacturer Support Program: In North America and Europe, publicly available manufacturers’ product support phone numbers and weblinks will now be shown to customers on enrolled products. This makes it easier for customers to reach out to manufacturers when they need help troubleshooting technical issues with their products.
2. Self-Service Support Program: A step-by-step automatic troubleshooting process for your customers. You can set up a sequence of questions and answers to assist customers in resolving common issues. You can also add videos and tutorials to make self-service more accessible.
3. Live Support Program: An Amazon-operated support feature that provides customers with general tips and warranty repair.
4) Warranty Repair Support: In Europe, customers will be able to request repair service on enrolled products. Defective products will be sent directly to warranty repair vendors and back to the customer. Manufacturers will need to accredit one of Amazon existing repair partners for this service.
According to Amazon, ASIN-specific self-service support documents, such as user manuals and guides, will be available to customers in all Amazon markets. Other types of content, such as self-help videos and product category-based content, will be available in the US only.
What are the benefits of the PLS feature?
Product Lifecycle Support provides many advantages for manufacturers, vendors, and sellers. First and foremost, it eliminates unnecessary returns and allows customers to receive support from brands to solve issues, eliminating the need for returning items. It’s also a way for brands to communicate better with their buyers and improve the customer experience, helping foster brand loyalty in the long run.
For customers, it’s a free service that allows 24/7 support and is a solution for cases when returning an item would be an unnecessary hassle. It also allows them to connect directly to brands.
Amazon predicts that around 60 percent of the customers using their post-purchase support feature will resolve their issues and avoid returning their purchases. This shift will also have significant environmental advantages: it will minimize redundant shipping and fewer products will end up in landfills.
What are the PLS program requirements?
Once you figure out which of the PLS programs is applicable to your products, here are the mandatory fields to apply:
- Brand name
- Marketplace (i.e. country)
- GL product group
- Customer support phone number
- Customer support URL
- Supported languages
- Operating hours (working days and weekends if applicable)
We highly recommend signing up for this much-needed and free service. It will help reduce returns and will improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. To enroll, open a case on Amazon Seller Central and ask for instructions.
If you need any assistance applying for this service or to any other Amazon program, or you are looking for an experienced partner to manage your Amazon account, get in touch with us at support.
1 According to CNBC:
Want to stay on top of the latest news for Amazon sellers? Sign up to get our newsletter using the form below: