Order items and catalog entries for returns

Using WebSphere Commerce, you can track returned orders, whether they are returned order items or returned catalog entries.

An order item is a product or service that is part of an order. For example, Order Number 001 contains three order items: one CD and two books. When an order item is returned, the credit amount and adjustment credit can be automatically calculated based on the order item record. For example, the customer who submitted Order Number 001 wants to return the CD. A Customer Service Representative can search for Order Number 001 to view the price that the customer paid for the CD and to make the correct adjustment.

A catalog entry is a product that is displayed in the store's online catalog. Returns that are based on a catalog entry number are needed when the returns are made after a delayed period. Older orders might have been cleaned out of the database before the return is initiated. For example, if the CD was purchased on September 15th, but the customer wants to return it a month later, the original order might have been deleted from the database. In this case, the return item may need to be specified by catalog entry. Note that the price of the product at the time of purchase and at the time of return may differ.

To analyze returns, it is best to be specific about the original order from which an order item originates. This information helps in calculating an accurate refund and any applicable taxes. If you cannot locate the original order item, products can be identified by their catalog entry.

To return an order or an order item, it must first be in one of the following states:

Ready for remote fulfillment
Pending remote fulfillment

However, to return an order (or item within an order) using the New Return wizard in WebSphere Commerce Accelerator, both the order and the order item order must be in either S (shipped) or D (deposited) state. To return items in any state, use the ReturnItemAdd command.

The typical status of items that are returned depends on whether you use the WebSphere Commerce fulfillment functionality. You can customize existing user interfaces, or make new ones (such as an e-commerce Web site), to precisely match your business process.

Whether you allow a customer to add a product that is not associated with an order item to a return (that is, by specifying only a catalog entry) depends on your business policies. This choice is manifested in the isCatEntryWithoutOrderItemReturnAllowedForShopper method. The default implementation is to allow this option to customers.