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Logistics & Fulfilment

Returns the biggest headache for online shoppers

New research reveals that a majority of Australians now spend more in a single online store than in a single offline store, but returns remain a problem.

The results come from an independent survey of 1,000 Australian adults who have shopped online at least three times in the last six months and was commissioned by parcel delivery service CouriersPlease.

A little more than half of all respondents (56 per cent) admitted they spend more with a single online store compared with a single bricks-and-mortar store, while 71 per cent of respondents in their 20s and 30s said the same.

Only 21 per cent of all respondents spend more in a single offline store than in a single online store, while 23 per cent spend the same amount across channels.

However, even as more Aussies shop online, returns remain a problem, with 30 per cent of respondents saying the return process is the biggest headache of their online shopping experience.

In addition, 29 per cent of respondents believe retailers should make the returns process easier, with 29 per cent believing returns packaging should be provided, and 27 per cent believing retailers should cover some of the cost of returns.

Most online shoppers currently shoulder some of the cost, with 60 per cent saying they spend more than $10, on average, per return, and 24 per cent spending more than $15, on average, per return.

CouriersPlease COO Hoy Yen Hooper acknowledged that consumer expectations around delivery and returns are changing, “and retailers need to keep up with these preferences to be able to offer a high-quality, full-circle service that also includes a reliable and seamless process for shoppers to return unwanted and unsuitable goods.”

CouriersPlease is looking to address the issue through the expansion of POPPoints, a network of retail outlets and parcel lockers that allow customers to pick up and drop off parcels outside of typical office hours.

Here are further insights from the CouriersPlease survey.

Top reasons for spending more online

Aussie shoppers who spend more in a single online store than a single offline store – segmented by reasons why

  • Greater choice in online stores: 19 per cent
  • More time to browse online from the comfort of my home: 15 per cent
  • Better or more frequent sales in the online stores: 11 per cent
  • Meeting the required ‘minimum spend’ to be eligible for free shipping: 7 per cent
  • Online shopping is more addictive than retail store shopping: 4 per cent

Online shopper’s experiences with returning online purchases

Aussie shoppers segmented by their experiences with returns

  • Returns are the No 1 headache in my online shopping experience: 30 per cent
  • Online retailers should provide packaging for returns: 29 per cent
  • Online retailers should make the returns process easier: 29  per cent
  • Online retailers should cover some of the cost of returns: 27 per cent
  • I always purchase more items than I need, knowing I will return some items: 7 per cent
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