Online retailers are leaving customers to fend for themselves when they return items, causing exasperation and risking future sales, according to new research.
Returns management platform ReBOUND questioned 1,000 UK online shoppers and found that while the shopping journey is littered with touchpoints between retailers and consumers, many shoppers are being left in the dark when returning items. Around half (49%) of consumers only hear about a return after their refund has been processed, meaning they’re left unaware that their item has been collected or received, while 11% receive no communication whatsoever.
More than a third (35%) said that retailers did not make it easy for them to send items back, and nearly half (46%) of all respondents said they had stopped shopping with a retailer because the returns process was hard or unclear.
ReBOUND’s own data indicates confusion with many existing returns processes, with more than half (55%) of returns forms either incorrectly filled in or not filled in at all. This results in returns taking longer to process both returns and refunds for shoppers, while also leaving retailers with glaring data gaps and confusion over why items have been returned.
While online retailers have made marked improvements to the purchase and delivery phases of the shopping journey in recent years, the same cannot be said for returns. Yet shoppers see returns policy as a significant factor when deciding which retailer to shop with. Research previously released by ReBOUND found that 90% online consumers say that returns are important in their shopping decisions, and almost half (49%) state returns are very important. More than two thirds (68%) of consumers say they check an online retailer’s returns policy before completing a purchase.
To highlight the returns communication gap between retailers and consumers and explore opportunities to improve the returns process, ReBOUND are launching the first UK event focused on tackling the returns challenge,The Returns Revolution. The inaugural event will take place on Tuesday 2nd October, providing data-driven advice for brands alongside speakers from Wiggle, Surfdome, Sky and IMRG addressing hundreds of senior retail decision makers at Millbank Tower, London. Attendees can register their interest via www.reboundreturns.com/returns-revolution.
“Online retailers would never dream of ignoring their customers in the lead up to a purchase, yet many are happy to leave shoppers in the dark when it comes to returns, creating confusion and chaos. We’ve launched The Returns Revolution to highlight this returns silence and warn retailers that returns complacency is risking their brand and future sales. Retailers need to stop looking returns as a cost of doing business and instead as a lever to build their brand.”
– Graham Best, CEO, ReBOUND