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Logistics & Fulfilment

Complicated returns costing customers hundreds of dollars

Two in three online shoppers could be losing hundreds of dollars by not bothering to return low-cost online purchases, according to new research from CouriersPlease.

The findings are based on a recent survey meant to gauge whether Aussies consider the cost of items before returning unwanted purchases and the barriers to making returns.

According to a representative sample of 1021 Australian adults who made at least three online purchases in the last six months, 61 per cent of respondents consider the price of an item in deciding whether they should return it, with 69 per cent of this group only returning items over $25. One third of this group would only return items costing over $50.

This could add up, as recent research from Temando suggest Australians spend around $182 online per month.

When asked what they disliked most about returns, 55 per cent of respondents said they disliked having to repack goods or purchase returns packaging. For 29 per cent, the delay in getting refunded by the retailer was their biggest headache.

Respondents said they would be more likely to make a return if they had different ways to do so. Being able to return unwanted items in-store would motivate 37 per cent of respondents to return their online shopping – the most popular returns method – followed by 29 per cent who would prefer a courier to pick up and return their parcel.

Returning items to a post office or parcel drop off and collection point such as a newsagent, petrol station or retail outlet would motivate 27 per cent to return their online shopping purchases.

Interestingly, 33 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to return an item they purchased in-store over an item they purchased online.

Jessica Ip, head of commercial and transformation at CP, said the survey reinforces the fact that retailers need to be thinking about more than just faster delivery when it comes to improving the online shopping experience for customers.

“We’re often hearing about faster delivery and same-day delivery, but it’s obvious that we still need to address how to make the returns process as seamless and easy for our online shoppers,” she said.

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