Why Product Returns Don't Have to Be a Nightmare
The majority of online retailers most likely consider product returns a necessary evil. However, return policies are an important factor for many shoppers today when making purchase decisions.
Recent statistics show that 92 percent of consumers will buy something again if the return process on a brand's website is easy. Another study shows that if an e-tailer doesn't make returning a product hassle-free, the numbers can work against them. Furthermore, over 80 percent of shoppers say they're unlikely to shop again with a brand if they've had a bad experience when making a return.
While returns and e-tail typically go hand-in-hand, successful businesses today are realizing the advantages of properly analyzing products in new and innovative ways. By understanding the underlying reasons that can often contribute to returned goods, online merchants will begin to appreciate that a good return experience can offer them a serious competitive advantage.
When e-tailers implement a transparent and systematic returns policy, they have a better chance of building a more reputable brand, improving customer loyalty and protecting their bottom line.
To better understand the consumer-centric mind-set as it relates to returns, it can be helpful to gain some insight into product return statistics. First, it's a good assumption to make that most people don't like to pay for return shipping. In fact, approximately 79 percent of consumers say they want free return shipping, according to recent research by TrueShip. However, many e-tailers struggle to offer this option, as they're unable to absorb the cost into their bottom line.
Current statistics portray a staggering picture: Between 30 percent to 35 percent of all products that are ordered online are returned by consumers for one reason or another. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that 8.6 percent of total sales are returned, a figure that represents more than $3.1 billion annually.