Online retailers are ‘discouraging’ shoppers from returning products, says new study

Online retailers are ‘discouraging’ shoppers from returning products, says new study

Online retailers are said to be discouraging customers to return products, with less than one per cent now including return labels with their products, according to new research into the state of eCommerce logistics in the UK.

Sendcloud says that the findings in its latest eCommerce Delivery Compass report show that retailers are cracking down on ‘wear and return’ customers – or serial returners, in an attempt to help reduce the three million plus packages returned every year in the UK.

Yet by making it harder to return items, the report says, many retailers risk losing customers completely as almost half (45 per cent) are put off from purchasing products from an online store if the returns period is less than 30 days. While the majority of consumers (54 per cent) will always check the return policy before they decide to buy a product online.

When it comes to reasons why consumers might not return a product, over half (59 per cent) of UK shoppers said returning products was a big hassle for them, 46 per cent said that they never or only sometimes returned online products, while 13 per cent stated there was no option to return the product.

Notably, 56 per cent of shoppers believe that the online retailer should arrange and pay for the return shipment.

UK consumers are not so patient either, with the average only willing to wait five days after they’ve submitted their return shipment to receive their refund.

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO of Sendcloud, said: “Retailers often preconceive the returns process to be a real headache and are sometimes tempted to make their return policies more complicated, in an attempt to reduce returns.

“However, the exact opposite is true as our research has proved that a simple and clear return policy is actually key in driving conversions.

“In fact, what we’ve found is that retailers which offer a longer return period result in fewer returns because customers are less concerned with the product that still has to be returned, as consumers can wait longer to actually return their orders, they often get attached to their newly delivered items and decide to keep them.  So, by offering a longer return period, retailers can actually increase sales and decrease returns.”

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