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E-commerce

Most customers can’t be bothered to return unwanted items

While it has become increasingly simple to buy and return products online, 70 per cent of Australians are not bothering to return an item that isn’t quite right, costing them up to $384 a year according to a study by Members Equity Bank (ME).

The study, which surveyed a sample of 1000 respondents, found that Australians typically want to return an average of four online purchases per year, with $96 being the average spend online.

“It’s important to consider the online shopping experience as a whole, with returns making up a significant part of the process,” ME money expert Matthew Read said.

“As with all expenses, it’s important to keep track of what you spend because little things can add up to a large amount that may be best spent, or saved elsewhere.”

Read said that while purchasing online has become incredibly streamlined, there is still some time and effort involved in returning items, and unless customers are willing to absorb the cost of an item they don’t want they will need to make the effort.

“It can be tempting to let it slide ‘this time’ and choose not to return a low cost online purchase, but if you’re like most online shoppers, chances are it’s not a once-off occurrence and the costs add up, fast,” Read said.

Retailers can incentivise returns, and create an opportunity to further connect with a customer, by offering more convenient return options.

A study by CouriersPlease found that 37 per cent of respondents would prefer to be able to return an item in-store, while 29 per cent would rather use a courier. A further 27 per cent would prefer to send items back through a post office or parcel drop off point.

Keep in mind, however, that as online shopping has become more ubiquitous in Australia the general expectation around shipping has changed – with 53 per cent of Australians stating they would not spend a cent returning an item purchased online.

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