Users Say Free Returns Are More Important Than Ever | So Good News
Consumers are making purchasing decisions based on retailer return policies, according to a new consumer survey. Free returns are important to consumers when shopping online, and many shoppers check a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase decision.
Consumers prefer individual returns
Consumers are now choosing in-person, boxed returns as the number one online delivery option, while mailed returns have dropped to fourth place. “Customers are tired of the broken and outdated way of sending returns through the mail,” said David Sobie, vice president of Happy Returns. Returning mail requires printing a return label and obtaining shipping materials; usually includes a trip to USPS, UPS, or FedEx
Only 21% of shoppers surveyed prefer to pick up and arrange pickup compared to 54% who prefer to drop someone off at their chosen location. Sobie said, “Customers are getting discouraged by this method because they understand that there is a better and hassle-free way to return, such as taking the product to a store that offers private returns.” According to the survey, mail order returns are a thing of the past: 79% of consumers try to avoid mail order returns whenever possible, and this number is even higher among those under 30 (83%).
Returns are the Achilles heel of both buyers and sellers
Returns have become an increasingly important part of the shopping journey, largely due to consumers buying with the intention of returning certain items. “Online shopping has become a habit, and customers understand that since they cannot touch and feel, there is a high chance of returns. “These days, consumers are used to returning things they don’t need,” said Sobie. Many consumers buy several different sizes or brands, knowing that they will return some of the products. This practice, known as bracketing, is of great concern to sellers and has raised the cost of returns to the seller.
“The cost of shipping goods to the retailer continues to rise with the rise of goods and services,” said Erin Halka, director of Solution Strategy for Blue Yonder. Dealers have started charging money to get the money back. “Return charges can discourage customers from over-purchasing because about 10% of returned products are either unsalable or need to be repaired.” Halka discussed how retailers struggle to keep enough stock when customers buy multiple products. “Some dealers I’ve worked with would buy up to 20% to cover returns,” Halka said. Returning items to the actual store is often the best way to avoid refunds.
Returns continue to grow amid economic challenges
Returns accounted for 16.6% of all sales in 2021, with online returns accounting for about 21%, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Appriss Retail. The financial crisis is paying off as nearly one in four respondents to the survey have returned a large number of online purchases due to inflation and other economic pressures affecting their financial health. This number is almost three times higher for those under the age of 45. “Despite these challenges, the growing personalization, boxless returns are a great opportunity to provide customers with what they expect while driving. the cost is 40%,” said Sobie. Happy Returns, a PayPal company, conducted a consumer survey for Returns Happen 2022.