As the ecommerce world grows by leaps and bounds, e-retailers are struggling to keep up with one element that is unavoidable: online retail returns. But consumers have spoken loud and clear: they want returns to be fast, simple and straightforward. What’s more, they don’t want to pay return shipping or any restocking fees, either. We’ll help you better understand why in this detailed article.

What if you were to be told that offering easy and free returns would actually make you more money in the long run? You’d certainly think that this was foolish speculation. After all, how can you possibly recoup funds after eating it on shipping costs once and then again on returns, much less on the restocking and handling fees that you have to absorb. The truth is that convenient returns help you make more money off each consumer, while increasing conversions, attracting new consumers and improving loyalty. We’ll break this all down for you with viable studies to back it up, so keep reading.

Studies Show That Free Returns Increase Sales, Profits

When you offer free product returns at your online retail store, you are making a bold statement. You are telling customers that you care about their “repeat business” and not just their “one-time” sale. You are also setting a standard that customers expect in e-retail, one that shows them that your store is as easy to shop at as the local door down the street, but one that offers even better pricing and selection.

In one study that examined the operations of two large online retail stores over a four-year period, it was found that free return shipping with no handling or restocking fees helped improve sales by a wide margin. Average consumer spending over just two years increased to as much as $2,400, more than 310% than it had been before such policies were in place.

Consumers Are Loyalists to Stores That Streamline Returns

In yet another related study it was found that not only does spending increase, but that consumer loyalty and retention also increases by a large percentage when simple returns are offered. These studies found that over 90% of consumers say they are loyalists to the stores that offer free and easy returns. Meanwhile, over 80% say that they’d rather shop at a store that makes this process simple and convenient, as opposed to a store that does not.

Retailers Are Learning That Most Returns Are Cause of Them

It can be frustrating to handle returns on a daily basis. But the fact is that over one-third of all products that are bought online will be returned by consumers. What you may find to be surprising is that most of the time the returns are actually the fault of retailers, and not the other way around.

  • 65% of returns are due to retailer error, not consumer fault.
  • 23% of online returns are because the consumer received the wrong product.
  • 22% of online returns are due to the product being substantially different in appearance than was advertised online.
  • 20% of online returns are due to the consumer receiving a damaged or a defective item.

If Returns Aren’t Hassle-Free, Shoppers Take Their Business Elsewhere

How many people are reading your returns policy and basing their buying decision off it? A lot more than you might suspect. In fact, studies show that over 66% of them will take a look at your online product returns policy before they decide to make a purchase. Simply put: if returns are not simple and easy, shoppers will go somewhere else.

About 78% of the consumers that visit your store think that return shipping should be offered as a free amenity. Unsurprisingly, over 80% want to know that your policy is lenient and that they don’t have to worry about making a return should the need arise. This is telling of just how much the e-retail world has evolved in recent years, and how newer, larger stores are setting the standard high for the returns policy.

Modern Retail Returns Software Automates the Returns Policy

Considering what the aforementioned facts illustrate, can your store really not offer convenient and hassle-free returns for consumers? The simple answer is: NO. But getting your system automated and making it user-friendly and accessible for your customers is not the hassle that it once was. With newer returns software for retailers, you can do this in just a few quick steps.

You can take your store to the next level and make returns the simple and fast process your customers want to them to be with returns software for retailers like ReadyReturns. In just a few minutes, you can have it integrated into your website and ready to go. You set the rules of returns like return shipping and restocking fees. Customers just visit your site and fill out a form to generate their return shipping label. Once the product has been shipped, you are updated with in-depth reporting and tracking. It really can be this easy and fast!