Over a quarter (26 per cent) of Brits have switched from a brand they were once loyal to due to the introduction of paid returns, according to the latest research from SAP Emarsys.
The study, released ahead of the Shoptalk retail tradeshow, reveals that 18 per cent of UK consumers actively describe the introduction of returns charges as “unfair”; 13 per cent have even thrown away an unwanted item after failing to return it.
With almost half (49 per cent) of shoppers abandoned a brand they were once loyal to due to cost considerations, and with around a quarter (24 per cent) keen to see retailers prioritise changes to return policies, a failure to meet expectations when it comes to the returns cycle has become a serious threat to customer loyalty.
As a result, retailers are rethinking. So far in 2023, 27 per cent of retailers identify prioritising investment in their delivery processes. A third (33 per cent) are also prioritising in more sustainable packaging.
“From discovery, to purchase, to shipping, to receipt both in-store and online, brands risk diminished reputations placing hurdles in front of their customers”, commented Megan Hostetler, global senior product marketing manager, SAP Emarsys. “It’s not enough to have the right product at the right price; complete transparency every step of the way, and solutions that reflect customer preference when problems do arise, are a must.
“Returns are a powerful opportunity for brands to build loyalty, both in terms of collecting data and gaining trust,” continued Hostetler. “Retail brands that get it right build higher customer lifetime value, receive fewer returns, and elevate that all-important customer experience; ultimately delivering on the promises made to customers is what drives true customer loyalty.
“With SAP supporting 95 per cent of retail businesses globally, Emarsys is in a unique position to connect front and back office for customers like Puma, Savers, and Reformation.”