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57% of retailers forecast increase in returns, Asendia says technology could help


A new survey has found more than half of retailers are projecting an increase in returns volumes in the next two to five years, therefore a third (29%) want to tackle this issue and reduce the number.

Asendia’s study revealed that on average retailer’s returns rate are approaching a quarter of their total purchases (23%). This figure increases to 27% in the US and in Switzerland, and 26% in Germany and the UK.

When looking at consumers, the research found nearly one shopper in three will ensure their preferred returns method is available (paperless, drop off box, collect, postal office, in-store) before finalising an order.

“Returns are a significant headache for retailers, but shoppers want to buy with the confidence that they can return their items if they wish to,” said Marc Pontet, CEO, Asendia Management.

Furthermore, when Asendia’s Jonathan Tubb, business development director e-PAQ, was interviewed for the DeliveryX Returns 2023 report [discussed in the below video] he stressed the importance of technology in dealing with the issue: “Today’s shopper expects more but also has less time. Technology and automation can support both the shopper and retailer to have a better user experience, improve efficiency and save costs.

“As an example, almost one in four (24%) global retailers have said that they will be looking at personalisation/ size and fit tools in 2023. This type of tool will improve the order experience and reduce the volume of returns.

“We’re also seeing a demand for return tracking notifications. Seeing their live return process provides shoppers with the information they need, therefore it reduces customer support request time and costs for the retailer. Technology can also support important analytics and data to identify patterns and trends,” Tubb noted.

He also recommended that retailers put returns processes at the front-of-mind, in a similar way they do for the delivery stage.

“Returns are often forgotten; especially cross-border returns that can be manual and time-consuming. There are a lot of cost wins that can be achieved by streamlining your returns process. And, as shopper loyalty now more than ever is essential, there isn’t a better time to do it,” he explained.

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