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91% of retailers experiencing increase in return rates, report highlights


New research has found that online order return rates are up to four times higher than shop bought purchase, with over 90% of retailers recording a jump in returns.

The 2023 Omnichannel Returns Index, produced by digital transformation insights firm Incisiv and Apriss Retail, stressed that a shift in channel share towards digital means retailers’ return rates are growing faster than their revenue.

“Retailers have been quick to embrace digital capabilities but have been slow to address the impact that returns are having on their customer satisfaction and bottom lines,” said Amar Mokha, COO of Incisiv.

“Our 2023 Omnichannel Returns Index shows that retailers can no longer afford to ignore returns and must take a strategic approach to reducing the cost and complexity associated with returns management.”

The study also found that only 19% of retailers have a strategic returns program in place, while 65% lack a good understanding of the root cause of their returns.

“The point-of-return is an underutilised customer touchpoint, despite being a pivotal opportunity to preserve shopper satisfaction,” added Michele Marvin, VP, Appriss Retail.

“When a customer starts a return, it becomes the retailer’s job to redirect them toward other products by delivering strategic messaging, promotions, and discounts designed to save the sale. When retailers invest in the returns process, they are guaranteed to see improvements in customer loyalty and profitability.”

When looking at various forms of retail, the research found the two segments that have the highest adoption of digital returns capabilities were health and beauty and apparel and accessories. While, 78% of consumer electronics retailers allow shoppers to print return labels online.

Furthermore, the report showed the lag in PUDO options with only 14% of retailers having the capability to schedule return pick-up. This compared to 82% of retailers allowing shoppers to return purchases in-store.

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