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Consumers looking for a convenient returns process, report finds

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Whether shopping online or offline, ease of returns is critical for customers, according to the newly published DeliveryX Returns 2024 report.

ConsumerX research found 51% see easy returns as very important. The ease of this process has the potential to shape their opinion of a retailer, 67% of shoppers admitted that a retailer’s returns policy influences how much trust they place in them.

Defining what is ‘easy’ for consumers could be a challenge for retailers. Some consumers may see going back to the store or a third-party location as tiresome. A substantial 77.9% of consumers want their ecommerce packaging to be easy to re-seal.

What consumers make of return fees
Making returns ‘easy’ comes at a price, and since 2022 some retailers have taken this from refunds. There has been mixed reactions from shoppers. ConsumerX research found 24% were willing to pay for returns.

While, 35% admitted to never considering the financial impact on retailers of returning items purchased online. It remains to be seen whether consumers will turn their back on retailers charging for returns, or if more shoppers will think about the cost of sending unwanted items back.

Peak returns
With increased numbers of deals, discounts and offers at certain times of the year, there is often an increased number of returns.

Furthermore, consumers are looking for more than a bargain during these events, they have also come to expect additional services such as free delivery (56%) and a flexible returns policy (44%).

Around a third of retailers offer a seven-day return window, 27% offer 14 days, 28% offer 30 days and 7% offer up to 90 days, according to goTRG’s survey.

While offering a lengthy returns policy during these events, alongside ‘bargain’ prices, may encourage consumers to shop in the first place, it can also result in them returning items after the buzz of peak has worn off.

Ecommerce returns were up 15% YoY for peak season 2023, with the earliest return reported on Cyber Monday itself. And with many retailers now charging for the reverse logistics, it is unsurprising that 48% of all returns over the Christmas period were paid returns

As charging for returns does not seem to be much of a deterrent in the peak season, 40% of retailers are now considering shortening their return windows during such busy periods.

This is an excerpt from the newly published DeliveryX Returns 2024 report, which will be presented as part of Ecommerce World Review on Tuesday 09 July 2024. Katie Searles and John-David Klausner of Loop will provide an overview of the key findings, charts and themes from the report. Registration remains open.

The full report, which also includes an exclusive interview with tech retailer Currys, is available to download here.

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