The competitive world of eCommerce is not very forgiving to errors made on the part of the shopkeeper. In fact, recent studies show that your customers want fast, effective and low-cost or free returns with a policy that competes with larger stores like Amazon or Zappos. In a study that was conducted by think tank Forrester Research, which was created on behalf of UPS, it was found that 81% of customers want a simple process in place for product returns management. The goal of the study was to determine how consumers would react when a positive and powerful returns process was in place over the latter.
Your Most Loyal Buyers Make the Most Returns
Something that many eCommerce shopkeepers may overlook is the fact that your most loyal shoppers actually make more returns than other shoppers do. If you don’t appeal to their shopping tendencies by offering a solid product returns management program, you could stand to lose them to another store. According to the Forrester report, in two-thirds of all cases, the shopper making a return is a repeat buyer from your online store. Naturally, you will want to appeal to this statistic by making returns easy and efficient for your loyal customers.
Customers Crave Low-Cost Returns
The same Forrester study also revealed something else that was interesting: over 80% of your buyers want a generous returns policy. This means that your returns are easy and economical, and not just flexible. The study found that shoppers want asimple returns management system in place with no-questions-asked, free shipping and little or no restocking fees. If you can offer them this, they will remain loyalists to your brand.
Intriguing Statistics About Returns
There are some associated factors that go hand-in-hand with this study. According to recent statistics, shopkeepers ought not to overlook these following metrics when trying to improve customer retention and satisfaction.
- Offering fast and affordable shipping will appease over 78% of your shoppers, who actually crave free shipping over any other shipping option.
- Over 50% of online shoppers don’t want to pay restocking fees when they return a product.
- In about 65% of all instances of returns, assessed by the Forrester study, the customer was not cause of the return. In fact, 23% were initiated because the wrong item was sent out; 22% due to the item looking substantially different after it arrived; and 20% because the item was damaged upon arrival.
As this study demonstrates, returns management should be a top priority with your online store. Certainly, offering free shipping or low cost return shipping may not be an option. Consider using a discount postage provider to reduce these costs and look into integrating an effective and generous returns policy (made easier with a product returns management software solution) that can help you better compete with your rivals online. Do this, and you can stand to improve retention and attract more customers, even if you dip into your profits just a bit in the process, it will be well worth it in the long run.