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Logistics & Fulfilment

Sustainable returns build brand loyalty, survey finds

Sustainable returns are “no longer a nice to have” with a survey of 2000 Australian shoppers showing 18 per cent rank it the most important consideration when shopping online. 

Almost half – 46 per cent – want returns to be more sustainable, according to the survey by SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement. And 47 per cent profess to being more loyal to a brand with a sustainable returns process, such as recycling returned items or using less packaging. 

“Sustainability is no longer a nice to have for consumers, it’s now a key consideration when deciding which brand to purchase from and it’s something brands need to prioritise,” said Thomas Harris, chief revenue officer at SAP Emarsys. 

“For me, the key is tackling the cause of the problem – why customers are having to return items in the first place. And that’s where AI-powered personalisation comes in.” 

In the survey, 69 per cent of respondents said they prefer not to return items, and 56 per cent want retailers to “get it right the first time”.

Harris says a key to achieving a more sustainable returns process is reducing the amount of products that customers reject. Using AI to personalise recommendations can achieve this, he says, by using sizing and previous purchase insights data to help shoppers buy the right thing the first time around.  

“Personalisation can transform customer experiences with deep customer insights, offering recommendations that are highly tailored to meet the needs of the consumer.”

The research further found that 46 per cent agree that retailers should re-sell returned items at a lower price to improve sustainability while 49 per cent would like to see retailers accept returns at local depots.   

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