According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, the average online shopper in the UK sends back an online purchase every month. Three in five online shoppers would be unlikely to use a retailer again if they have a difficult returns experience. The returns experience is a key part of the online shopping puzzle. It is very important to get the returns experience right the first time.
“January is the busiest time of the year for returns – and we expect it to be even bigger this year given the significant move to online shopping over the 2020 festive period. Having a clear, user-friendly returns policy is a vital part of the online shopping experience. For retailers, ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is key.”Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail
There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to how people return items and who they choose to return them with. Being able to send back unwanted goods for free is top of the list (85 percent) and having proof of return is just behind on 84 percent. Ease of returns is a strong motivator for 80 percent of shoppers, whilst having friendly staff is important to 70 percent.
Over six in ten (61 percent) of online shoppers returned clothing, 38 percent returned electrical goods and 35 percent returned footwear. The most common reasons for making returns are for clothing not fitting properly (39 percent) and non-clothing goods not working properly (23 percent). 18 percent of younger shoppers (18-34-year olds) are more likely to return items because the item was not as described.
Try Before You Buy Appeals to UK Shoppers
Being able to try on clothes (or look at other items) before paying for them is appealing to many UK shoppers. Almost a third (30 percent) of people that return items use a ‘try before you buy‘ service. Those aged 18-34 (47 percent) are significantly more likely to have tried before they’ve bought, compared to just 16 percent of those aged 55 and over.
This year, online shoppers have the option of having their returns collected from their doorstep with Royal Mail’s new service – Parcel Collect. With this service, postmen and postwomen now collect parcels as well as deliver them on their daily rounds. Royal Mail’s Parcel Postboxes are another option for posting return items.