Online shopping is booming. Returns are not.
Sure, lots of consumers are buying online. However, only a fraction of them are returning an item.
According to NPR/Marist poll, 91% of online shoppers said they “only rarely” or “never” return things they buy online. And even more — 94%— said they “only rarely” or “never” make an order expecting to return at least part of it.
Returns are supposed to be enjoyable for consumers because they get their money back on something they purchased but no longer want. However, most consumers don’t return items because they find the return process to be cumbersome, time-consuming and inconvenient. It’s a hassle that they don’t want to deal with. No one wants to find a box, package up an item, deal with a shipping label and then drive to a drop-off location to send the package back. Moreover, consumers also worry if the merchandise will actually make it back to the seller. Additionally, consumers fret over whether or not the vendor will give them a full refund request or instead give them store credit claiming the item is damaged. There is a missing human element when it comes to returning an item via mail versus in-store.
On the other end of the spectrum, returns are also a major pain for retailers. In fact, returns top the list of retailer challenges at 48% followed by customer issues with packing/shipping items for return at 39%. For retailers, The Washington Post notes that e-commerce returns can take time to process, due to return shipping periods and returns processing on the retailer’s end. This means that customers are left waiting for the return to credit back to their payment accounts, which creates another source of frustration.
By streamlining their returns process, retailers can help to boost their customer loyalty and ultimately their bottom line. Emerging studies, notes the Huffington Post, are finding that sales, customer loyalty, long-term retention and word-of-mouth drastically improve when a hassle-free returns policy is in place.
Additional statistics on the returns process report that:
- Over 63% of consumers read the online product returns policy before making a purchase and that the return policy ultimately influences 80% of the sale (comScore).
- 81% of consumers want a convenient returns policy that is hassle-free with no return shipping cost (UPS).
- About one-third of all products ordered online are returned by consumers (WSJ).
- When free returns are offered, sales can increase by as much as 357% (CNBC).
- When return shipping fees are charged, 81% of consumers are less likely to make a future purchase from the retail store (Upstream Commerce).
- 55% of consumers say they prefer to make their returns in a store (Gold Bee)
Clearly, retailers need to invest in streamlining their returns process. By doing so, they will enhance the customer experience and build brand loyalty. And with a better customer experience, the retailer will experience an increase in revenue.
One new way for retailers to improve their returns process is through our BOPIL locker solutions.
Parcel Pending offers a much-needed, streamlined returns management solution for retailers that helps to improve staff efficiencies, boost customer loyalty and revenue. It’s called Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker (BOPIL™) and its designed to simplify the BORIS (Buy Online Return in Store) process. The way it works is simple. Consumers visit the retailer and return the item(s) they purchased from the retailer online – be it groceries, clothing, electronics, cosmetics and more. The items are placed into one of the Parcel Pending lockers located at the retail store.
If companies were to reassure customers along every step of the way when it comes to returns and exchanges and make the process as flexible as possible then It would make customers feel less weary. With our lockers the return is done so electronically, right on the spot in front of the customers, giving them the peace of mind that the item made it back to the vendor in one piece for them to collect.
With our BOPIL locker solution, there is no mystery and no confusion. If retailers made the return process quick and painless with lockers at the stores, they get the opportunity to sell the item again in a timely manner and in turn, if the customer knows their refund is around the corner, they are more likely to go back in the store and shop to replace the item. Retailers also get the opportunity to offer a store coupon at the locker kiosk at the time of return to further encourage the consumer to shop there once again.
How will you streamline your BORIS process?