Why Getting Parcel Returns Right Has a Direct Impact on Customer Purchase Decisions and Loyalty

The eCommerce market is growing, with more shoppers choosing to buy online over shopping in store, especially in the face of the Covid19 pandemic. As online sales rise, so does the rate of online returns. Returns are important for customers, with ¾ of customers citing them as an essential factor in where they choose to purchase. Retailers who have an inadequate returns process risk driving sales towards a competitor. Not only that, but the returns experience can also make that customer less likely to buy from you again. The importance of delivery has been more of a focus for ecommerce businesses over the last 10 years, but in the quest for perfect delivery, retailers mustn’t neglect returns. Closing the gap between the delivery and returns experience is key to both growing sales and building up all-important customer loyalty.

Bridging the Gap – Why Returns are Vital to Customer Experience

Retailers understand the direct correlation between a good delivery experience and increasing customer loyalty. However, the focus on outbound customer experience often leaves returns as an afterthought. Returns have become more and more important for customers. 25% of online shoppers now frequently return items and 35% of shoppers deliberately over order so that they can see or try on items before they decide whether to keep it. If retailers don’t give these customers a good returns experience, they could potentially lose a quarter of their sales to a competitor. In fact, 92% of shoppers who have received a good returns experience make repeat purchases. * 

The returns experience doesn’t just matter when the return happens, however. 46% of shoppers are now choosing to read through the return information before they even make a purchase. It’s not just important that the process is easy, but that your returns policy is clear and easy to understand. It also must be easy to locate on your website. The more confident shoppers are in your returns process, the more likely they will be to commit to a purchase.

All this shows that implementing a good returns experience encourages sales and encourages repeat purchasing. It’s vital to the customer experience, and vital for businesses to see delivery and returns as a full circle service.

What Kind of Returns Experience do Customers Expect?

Customers want choice and convenience when it comes to returns, just as they do with delivery. 85% of consumers have a preference of how they want to make a return, so businesses must have a range of options so customers can choose what’s most convenient for them. They also want full tracking and communication from the retailer so that they have transparency over when they will get their refund. Just as with delivery, returns needs to have the same convenience and transparency for the customer.

Providing The Best Returns Experience

To match customer demand for choice and convenience, retailers need to work with multiple carriers. Only by doing this can they ensure that they have a choice between different service levels and cost. This means a better customer experience for delivery and returns. However, working with multiple carriers be costly and time consuming, with retailers needing to balance different carrier labelling, pick up times, technology and contracts.

Enlisting the services of a global multi-carrier provider like GFS can alleviate this pressure as they manage the different carriers and route delivery and returns through the best service for the customer and the retailer. GFS new Global Returns software enables businesses to give their customers the simple and quick returns experience they want, through immediate access to a global network of 200+ returns services. Using this alongside the expert multi carrier services takes the operational pressure and cost down by comparing the service levels and pricing for you, giving you more time and freedom to focus on your business. You can also be confident that each of your customers get a consistent, full loop delivery and returns experience, every time, wherever they are in the world.

*IMRG Returns Review 2020

By Alison