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Returns and delivery remain deal-breakers for online buying


Returns and delivery remain key points that can put customer off buying, according to a new consumer survey from Breathe Technologies.
The survey of more than 1,500 consumers, showed that 91% consider a retailer’s returns policy before making a purchase and most want returns to be free, with nearly three-quarters (73%) saying that paying for returns would put them off from buying.

Almost a third (30%) of consumers said they return up to half of their online purchases, while nearly 50% return up to a quarter of parcels.

Speedy refunds on returns were also an expectation from customers with almost one fifth (18%) of respondents expecting to receive a refund from a returned order within 24 hours, and a further 32% within 48 hours. Only 4% felt it was acceptable for refunds to take more than five days.

However it was long delivery times that topped the list of frustrations for half of customers and 35% said they would shop elsewhere rather than wait.

The exception to this was when it came to sustainability. Nearly a third (32%) said they would be happy to pay for delivery or wait longer if it meant a greener experience, such as their parcel arriving in a combined delivery with other orders. 44% wanted less packaging and 39% paper-based packaging. 28% said they would be prepared to pay for greener packaging.

Claire Umney, managing director at Breathe Technologies, said ecommerce retailers must work closely with their supply chain partners on forecasting to cope with increased volumes and deliver the returns and delivery experiences customers were after. “Retail operations should be led by consumer expectations; they need to be agile and have flexibility to scale with demand,” she said. “Smart warehouse technology and software will provide faster and more efficient services, enabling retailers to forecast product demand, move goods at speed whilst ensuring accuracy, and ultimately provide better control over what’s happening within the warehouse.”

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