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Return rate at highest for two years

As returns are a necessary part of the overall retail experience, competition around providing the best and most convenient experience has become regarded as a potential differentiator. 

Being able to return unwanted items is a functional (and legal) requirement of retail in all its guises – digital or physical – but a higher rate for digital may be anticipated due to the fact that people cannot handle or try on an item before they receive delivery of it, whereas in a shop they can do this before completing a purchase. The question is, what would a reasonable return rate for online retailers be?

To find out, plus more valuable insights from the IMRG UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2016, read this new insight article about returns in 2016.

Member views on return rates:

Tim Robinson, CEO, Doddle: “The increase can be attributed to more retailers offering free returns. The majority of consumers (86%) resent paying for returns and retailers have used this insight to their advantage to strengthen their affinity with customers and drive future purchases through free returns. Our return volumes have grown steadily, with weekly volume in October more than double March volumes. Despite concerns about compulsive returning behavior it’s actually only a small percentage of customers who are heavy returners, with our data showing just 0.5% of customers returning more than 10 items over the last two years. Retailers who embrace free returns are implementing one of the most powerful marketing tools a brand can have.”

Kelly Jones, research coordinator, ReBOUND: “Whether shoppers are returning more is one thing, understanding why and how is another. A recent Barclaycard report found that a whopping 57% of retailers are now refunding returns regardless of product condition, with an estimated 26% of these products unfit to go back out for resale, impacting retailers’ bottom line. Gaining robust data on returns can provide retailers with actionable insight around what customers are sending back and why. Only then can they really begin to build the big picture of a customer’s return habits as a comparison against sales. But the challenge many brands face is getting a clear view of the data in the first place, especially from an international perspective.”

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