What makes consumers grumble most about returning online orders?
According to a global survey from Narvar, the three top complaints around online returns are having to pay for shipping, lack of communication regarding return status and not knowing when they will get their refund.
According to the online survey of 3,519 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Australia who returned at least one online purchase in the last year, the biggest gripe was “My refund took too long,” cited by 28 percent. That was followed by “I had to repackage the item,” 24 percent; “I had to keep checking to see if my refund had gone through,” also 24 percent; “I wasn’t able to track the package,” 13 percent; and “I had to wait in line,” 10 percent.
Other themes in the study:
Transparency: Among U.S. consumers, 32 percent want to see the returns policy on the product page and 24 percent on the home page. Thirty-five percent expect a confirmation email. Across all respondents, 16 percent are frustrated by needing to check on refund status, with 53 percent checking refund status daily.
Physical returns: Thirty-eight percent of overall respondents think it’s easier to return an item in-store, though only 10 percent made their last return in store. About half are willing to return in-store to reduce the environmental cost. Among other options, 21 percent want a drop box, like a post office box, or a way to drop off at a convenient location (pharmacy, grocery, or c-store). Seventeen percent are interested in a drop-off locker.
Bracketing: Fifty-six percent of overall respondents often “bracket” — buy multiple versions of an item with the intention of trying on at home and then return those that do not work. This practice leads to a small percent of shoppers comprising a disproportionate percent of returns. Those bracketing say they do so because retailers don’t provide enough information needed for the transaction.
Exchanges: Free return shipping and easy exchanges for different sizes, colors or items were found to encourage respondents to make an online exchange rather than ask for a refund.
- Global Returns Study: The Art of the Perfect Return – Narvar
- The State of Returns: What Today’s Shoppers Expect – Narvar
- Vast Majority of Consumers Already Plan to Return Holiday Gifts – Oracle
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s your own biggest beef with the online returns process? Which common shortfalls in the online returns experience should be easy for retailers to resolve? Which will be difficult?