A new study from Ryder System Inc., recommends that retailers pay close attention to their returns policies and management strategies in order to improve customer loyalty.
The ninth annual ecommerce consumer study, “Adapting to Inflation: Consumer Outlook on Ecommerce,” was an annual report put out by acquired unit Dotcom Distribution. While the study provides valuable insights into various aspects of ecommerce, one standout trend is the increasing significance of returns.
“This year’s data shows consumers are more cost-conscious, consistently prioritizing savings with free shipping, free returns, and comparison shopping,” said Jeff Wolpov, senior vice president of ecommerce solutions for Ryder. “For savvy merchants, this presents an opportunity to provide customers with options to save in one area while creating opportunities to shift spending to another, such as increasing order value with free shipping thresholds or converting returns into new orders with smart returns management.”
“Returnless refunds” drive customer loyalty: Sixty-five percent of respondents said “returnless refunds” – a policy allowing full refunds without requiring customers to sent items back – motivates them to shop with a brand again. This was up 14% from last year, underlining the importance of hassle-free returns for retaining customers.
Coupons, discounts encourage repeat purchases: Coupons, discounts, or credit toward future purchases were cited by 44% of respondents as the most likely factors to entice them to shop the same brand again, up 9%. This points out the role of promotions in boosting customer retention.
Desire to donate unwanted items: Forty-five percent of respondents said they wanted to donate unwanted items kept through returnless refunds. This indicates a growing consciousness among consumers to reduce waste and make socially responsible choices.
The study indicates that returns management is critical, and consumers increasingly value convenience and simplicity in the returns process. Retailers who invest in customer-centric returns policies and innovative returns management solutions are likely to see higher customer satisfaction and repeat business.
“While consumer behaviors, preferences, and expectations will continue to shift, one thing remains constant – the consumer experience is king,” Wolpov said. “That means, for brands to remain relevant, they must stay current on the patterns and trends that will help them shape the ideal customer experience.”