Frustrated online shoppers abandoning stores with poor returns processes
New research released by Collect+ sends a warning to retailers of the cost of failing to provide an effective returns process. The poll of 2,000 online shoppers reveals that 58% of shoppers, once they have had a bad experience with deliveries or returns will abandon that online retailer permanently.
Collectively, around £1.3bn worth of goods is returned each year. However, research released today reveals that one in ten (12%) online shoppers have been left out of pocket as result of poor returns policies which left them unable to return unwanted goods in time for a refund.
The research highlights for the first time the frustrations of online shopping which has grown into an industry worth £49.8bn annually. The hassle of returning goods to the local post office tops the list of complaints, with over a quarter (28%) of shoppers citing this as a frustration, closely followed by the cost of postage (18%) with the most of those questioned (59%) feeling such returns should be free.
Mark Lewis, Collect+ CEO said: “The hassle and cost of online returns has been the dark secret of retail for too long, with our research showing that shoppers are abandoning outlets that fail to get it right. Modern shoppers are demanding returns processes that match their lifestyles and will no longer tolerate queuing at their local post office to return defective or unwanted goods.”
The lack of choice and convenience in returns is leading to an astonishing 20% of unwanted goods dumped at the local charity shop or thrown into the bin. Furniture and electrical goods were the least likely to be returned, with shoppers from the South West (16%) the most likely to be lumbered with unwanted goods. Shoppers from London and Yorkshire were the most likely to regularly return online purchases closely followed by Scotland and the South East.
The impact of shopper frustration on retailer brand loyalty is evident from the research. One in three (30%) shoppers holds the retailer directly responsible for a poor delivery or returns experience. The research also shows that many shoppers may abandon the purchase before checkout, with half of online shoppers (47%) always checking the returns policy before purchase.
Keith Basnett, Chief Operating Officer at Shop Direct Group commented: "At Shop Direct Group, customer choice is important to us and we offer a wide range of delivery and collection options, giving our customers maximum flexibility and convenience. Collect+ has added to our comprehensive returns service and gives us a significant advantage over other retailers. It is the crucial last mile of any e-retail experience and if it is not right it can have a major impact on our reputation.
"This is an area in which our customers appreciate clarity and choice and it is crucial to offer convenient alternatives for those that cannot afford to wait at home for deliveries during working hours."