Research from ecommerce technology provider MetaPack, has highlighted how retailers’ returns policies can be a positive tool for customer retention and brand loyalty. Free returns remain a key consideration, but consumers want convenience most of all, said the research into what people really think about returns processes.
According to the research, 83% of consumers would stay loyal if a retailer could provide a reliable and effective returns service.
It also found that over a quarter of consumers find it difficult or frustrating to return items bought online – of these, 58% were unhappy because the service was not free, 51% complained that it was too complicated and 46% found parcel drop-off inconvenient.
Kees de Vos, Chief Commercial Officer at MetaPack, said: “Having lots of options is no longer a luxury – it has become a necessity. Returns are well-known as a tricky area for online retailers. But returns should be seen as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and retention through offering convenience and choice and a positive experience to support future spending.”
The research shows that consumers are increasingly expecting the same price, flexibility and convenience when they return a product as when it is delivered. Consumers are well informed about price, ease of use and convenience, and are now expecting exactly the same standards of service for returns. With customer retention being a key factor in the success of a retailer, it is clear that an efficient returns policy could provide a compelling competitive advantage in the crowded market and act as a lever to drive additional sales.
De Vos continued: “It’s important that retailers invest in reverse logistics capabilities to support multichannel so that increased volumes of returns can be managed independently without disrupting the rest of the system. One option may be to look at services like Uber that could offer a flexible pickup service as well as how expanding networks of click and collect sites can be utilised.”
MetaPack will be hosting a webinar on the 21 April to discuss some of the key themes of the research and how retailers can keep pace with consumer demand for flexibility in returns. Details and registration can be found here.