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ReturnsHappen™ – Why Returns Are No Longer a Setback for E-Retailers

E-commerce is changing, as consumers help reshape the face of one of the world’s fastest growing and largest international industries. Experts have predicted that by the year 2017, e-commerce will surpass the $2 trillion marker, more than the GDP of most nations. The newest trend is to make online retail returns simple and easy for the consumer, something that actually benefits the e-retailer’s bottom line. This article will explain the leading reasons why ReturnsHappen™ and why retailers no longer need to view them as a setback.

E-retailers like Zappos have made it clear that by appealing to the consumer demand for hassle-free online retail returns, more sales are channeled through the conversion funnel. What’s more, these larger e-retailers have not only set the example, but have paved a new trend that benefits both consumer and merchant alike.

Studies Show That Free Returns Increase Sales, Profits

One reason is because the findings of recent studies have revealed that if an e-retailer makes online product returns convenient and free for the consumer, that they stand to dramatically increase consumer spending as a direct result.

One study followed two larger e-commerce stores over 49 months. Each store was offering convenient returns with complimentary return shipping and no restocking fees. Following the study, it was determined that due to integrating such a return policy, consumer spending had increased by 357%, namely due to more loyal, confident and satisfied customers.

Consumers Are Loyalists to Stores That Streamline Returns

Another related study corroborates what the aforementioned study found: that consumers are loyalists – and sometimes outright brand ambassadors – to the brands that streamline returns and make them free and easy to process online.

In fact, studies have found that 92% of consumers are more loyal to a brand when the online retail returns are simple to process and don’t cost them money on return shipping. What’s more, 82% of consumers have made it clear that if a store offers a bad returns policy, they’ll just simply shop somewhere else that makes returns easy. And the next store is always just a click of the mouse away online.

Retailers Are Learning That Most Returns Are Cause of Them

The facts about online retail returns paint the real picture: that most of the time the problem is on the hands of the retailer and not the consumer. In fact, about 65% of all returns that are made by consumers are due to direct fault of the e-retailer. Here’s how these numbers break down.

  • 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.

ReturnsHappen™ – Top Ten Product Return Statistics

Have a look at this infographic. It depicts the top ten reasons why products are returned to e-commerce stores by consumers. These facts can better illustrate why online returns are made and what your store can do to decrease them and manage them for your customers.

Consumers are wising up to the way that e-commerce businesses operate. This is why over 66% of them will take the time to review the online product returns policy before they complete a sale. If the return policy is not advantageous to the consumer, they’ll simply take their business to another online store.

In addition, over 81% of consumers want a simplified method of processing a return, if the need arises, and 79% think that return shipping should be free. Understandably, a consumer can still shop locally, where the return won’t cost them shipping fees if they have to make one.

Automation Is The New Form Of The Returns Policy

Forward-thinking e-retailers are getting on board with the changing demographic and nomenclature of the returns policy. As this article clearly demonstrates, making returns simple and free for consumers actually is conducive to increased profits, improved customer loyalty and retention, and drastically increased consumer spending over just a two-year period.

Automation is quickly becoming the tried and true standard in e-commerce. From one-button checkouts via secure e-wallets, to mobile shopping apps that do most of the work for consumers. But, many stores are still not offering automated returns.

The larger stores, like Amazon and Zappos do, and it’s done wonders for helping them reel in customers. However, many smaller stores – which comprise the vast majority of e-commerce businesses – fear automation because they think that they can never afford to integrate it into their business while protecting their bottom line.

Yet, with newer solutions, automation is no longer a cost concerned element. Rather, it’s a customer-focused solution that can enable stores of any size to better compete with juggernaut businesses like the aforementioned. As this white paper has demonstrated, returns are nothing for retailers to fear, because when convenient returns are offered, business increases exponentially.

Retailers that are interested in integrating a good returns policy can take things further by relying upon modern retail returns software like ReadyReturns. This software integrates into any online store in minutes, and lets customers process a return and generate a return shipping label in just a few steps, while providing tracking and predictive analytics along the way.

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