In partnership with Internet Retailing, Clear Returns have taken part in a three month research project to uncover retailers current challenges and concerns around returns. Here we give our verdict on the results.
42% of retailers return rates have risen over the last 12 months, which is unsurprising as retailers online sales continue to grow, so will their rate of returns.
While free returns can build trust and encourage bigger baskets it may simply be increasing your returns, since people can easily over order and return items
One key challenge all retailers face with returns are the costs involved. One third of retailers surveyed offered free returns on all sales, and while this can build trust and encourage bigger baskets it may simply be increasing your returns, since people can easily over order and return items. Clear Returns have identified certain segments of customers,’overbuyers’, who deliberately buy large baskets with no intention of keeping all of the items. While free returns is an essential part of retailers’ online offer, you should be aware of customer groups who abuse these policies and tailor your targeting to these customers accordingly to help minimise returns and maximise profitability.
Getting the sale right in the first place is critical to minimising returns.
“We want people to get it right first time so give as much information as possible to ensure they have ordered correctly. Processing returns is costly and a hassle.”
Failure to meet customer expectations was the main driver of returns for 47% of retailers, more so than poor fit. Retailers are currently searching for ways to combat this expectation gap, such as tailoring the amount and quality of product information onsite. This is where Clear Returns has helped retailers take proactive action by automatically alerting the appropriate teams to content issues after only a few returns are made, and delivering recommended actions to solve specific issues.
Another worrying result from the research is that 43% of retailers track returns and capture the data, but do nothing with the information. This is a crucial area for retailers to address in 2014. Making the most of the data you capture will ensure your returns process are more efficient and get stock back on sale faster - maximising profits as a result.
Keep an eye out for the February issue of Internet Retailing for more insight from the survey, and join us at the upcoming Returns Research Briefing on March 5th to hear from all the expert research partners involved.