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Two in three Australians are more loyal to sellers offering free returns

Two in three Australian shoppers are more likely to be loyal to merchants that provide free returns, according to a recent study.

SAP company Emarsys showed in its research that 44 per cent of Australian consumers abandon a purchase due to complicated returns policy while 43 per cent actively avoid online merchants that impose charges for returning items.

The research is based on a survey of 2000 shoppers nationwide.

“Returns are a pain for both retailers and customers, significantly impacting profit, customer service, loyalty and sustainability,” said Will Wilson, regional VP for sales at Emarsys Asia Pacific Japan.

Moreover, 56 per cent said they want retailers to “get it right the first time” and 69 per cent said they do not want to have to return items.

Around 13 per cent suggested that retailers should provide more personalised marketing to avoid returns.

“It is all about knowing the customer. If someone has purchased 12 items in a year, a retailer might think they’re a big fan. But if they’ve returned 11 items, the story is different,” said Wilson.

Meanwhile, 15 per cent of the respondents admitted to wardrobing – defined as the act of purchasing an item with the intent of returning it after use to receive the money back. Examples are ordering the same garment in several sizes to choose the best fit.

The rise of such cases has led merchants to charge a return fee, but the survey suggests this move only causes customers to switch, with 47 per cent claiming their loyalty declines for brands that charge for returns.

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