The ease of returning goods is a critical consideration for customers when deciding whether to use a supplier again for online or catalogue shopping. New research from Newgistics and Harris Interactive evaluates just how important this actually is.
The research has found that almost nine out of ten (88%) of US adults who have shopped online or through catalogues say that a convenient return policy and process is "somewhat important, important or very important" in deciding where to purchase when shopping online or through a catalogue. And 92% of adults who have shopped online or through catalogues are "somewhat or very likely" to shop again with the retailer if the return process is convenient.
Conversely, 85% are "not very or not at all likely" to shop again with a direct online and/or catalogue retailer if the return process is inconvenient. More than 7 out of 10 (72%) US adults have shopped online or through a catalogue.
The research, the second annual consumer returns survey commissioned by returns management specialists, Newgistics, and conducted by market research firm, Harris Interactive, suggests that retailers who recognise returns as a critical touch point for consumers can implement targeted promotions during the returns process that improve customer loyalty and increase sales and multi-channel purchasing.
When returning merchandise purchased online or through a catalogue, 88% of online or catalogue shoppers are "somewhat likely, likely or very likely" to take advantage of a discount on the next purchase. Sixty-one percent are "somewhat likely, likely or very likely" to take advantage of the offer from the direct retailer even if it required an in-store visit.
Gifts for others
Three-quarters of US adults say that a convenient return policy and process is an important or very important factor when purchasing a gift for someone else. With any task that can be a bother, some consumers also tend to procrastinate on returns - 34% of adults have held onto merchandise they knew they didn't want to keep for two months or longer before returning it to the retailer. According to Newgistics, a convenient returns process can lessen the hassle of making returns and encourage consumers to return merchandise to the retailer faster.