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Shoppers emphasise importance of returns service: study

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Almost three-quarters of shoppers take the returns promise into account when they choose who to buy from – but less than two thirds are happy with how that promise is delivered, a new study suggests.

In all, 74% of 1,000 online shoppers questioned in research for the IMRG Blackbay UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2016 said a good returns service would be important when they’re selecting a retailer – but 61% said they weren’t satisfied with the experience they got.

Customers, said the study, rate real-time tracking and updates on returns as important. The ability to drop-off the return or have it collected are important and the solutions to enable this are in place – but as we found with last year’s survey, the main thing customers want relates to information. Access to real-time tracking, updates on the status of their return and conformation of return are all required to keep customers happy and loyal.

Andrew Starkey, head of e-logistics at IMRG : “On the whole the picture emerging from this research is a positive one – with UK shoppers saying they are relatively satisfied with the quality of online delivery. However, there is no room to be complacent because, as services and delivery offers improve, so too customer’s expectations increase – and we can see that they are starting to demand better and more convenient experiences in relation to returns. Customers are also saying they want to be kept informed as to the progress of their delivery so they can plan to be available to receive their orders accordingly.”

Nigel Doust, chief executive of Blackbay, said: “The market continues to advance and improve the service offering for consumers, however there is still a lack of consistency in delivery and returns performance and a general lack of control given to the consumer throughout the parcel journey.

“Consumers want to take control of their deliveries through real-time tracking, live re-directs, instant on-demand delivery and importantly clear and consistent communication from the carrier. In order to capitalise on this constantly evolving parcel journey, both retailers and carriers need to embrace the technology available, unfortunately many organisations have yet to take advantage of the role technology can play in delivering a seamless and positive customer experience for today’s online shoppers.”

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