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Moving to the point of no return

Moving to the   point of no return

Moving to the point of no return


Cick and collect is offering huge potential for retailers to boost sales since it assures a sale and gets the customer instore to upsell to as well.

But does the same apply for drop and return? In principle the ability for customers to return products bought via other channels instore offers the same benefits as click and collect with the added benefit of improving customer satisfaction since the customer can be refunded immediately rather than have to wait on the mercy of Royal Mail and their banks for a refund.

At department store group Debenhams logistics carrier manager Vinesh Chauhan says this is the major benefit for his company. “We promote returns to store as being the quickest way to get a refund,” he says.

But Vicky Brock, CEO of Clear Returns, says retailers often miss out on the chance to sell more in their haste to offer a convenient hassle free returns experience.

She cites an occasion where she returned a pair of slippers to a store and was given a refund. Though the process was swift and hassle free she said she actually left disappointed because staff had the opportunity to sell her alternative product and didn’t.

“I wanted some slippers but ended up spending the refund card on groceries I would have bought anyway yet they thought they had done everything right. I think there’s a lot of good old fashioned retail common sense that goes out of the window when it comes to returns. Retailers look at the customer experience part and ‘have we fulfilled their need’d but the ‘have we got them to buy something’ can get dropped,” she says. Where returns are being pushed into store there is danger. What is missing there is the opportunity to turn that into what the customer wants,” she says.

The other challenge is that drop and return only works effectively for those that have actually invested in the systems to manage it since the retailer needs to be able to clearly track customer history and activity across all channels. In our survey nearly a third (31%) of respondents said that they had reacted to this change by introducing a single customer view that allows them to manage the issue of buying online and return to store and making it an easier process for customers.

Almost one in five respondents (24%) however said that they were still trying to manage the complexities of return to store for goods bought online. The challengeis not only in the physical tracking and tracing of customer buying and product return but also in the psychological too. Although store staff are starting to embrace the concept of managing of fulfilling a sale instore that has been credited to the online channel the challenge of returns instore is that the shop assistant and staff on a local level areleft feeling penalised by having to handle and manage product instorethat has been bought elsewhere.

As we have already mentioned thetrend for click and collect is boomingand it’s a service most retailers are left feeling penalised by having to handle and manage product instore that has been bought elsewhere.

As we have already mentioned the trend for click and collect is booming and it’s a service most retailers are embracing thanks to the benefits it brings. When asked if they were seeing a similar trend in the rise of drop and return over a third (34%) said it was still minimal. However a further quarter (27%) said it was a rising trend and 9% said they hadseen the same rise as in click and collect.

The research suggests that once they overcome the challenges of drop and return instore the process will become smoother and more acceptable to all and once store staff also use this as an opportunity to immediately satisfy customer need the benefits could be huge.

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