75 Percent of Respondents Feel Retailers Should be Doing More to Improve Their Returns Practices; Cost, Communication and Convenience Key Requirements for Consumers
WILKES-BARRE, Penn. – March 10, 2021 – Doddle, a leading international ecommerce solutions provider that designs, develops and integrates consumer fulfilment and returns technology, announces the findings of its latest research conducted to uncover how important the ecommerce returns experience is to shoppers. The survey of more than 1,200 U.S. consumers was done in February 2021.
When comparing Doddle’s most recent survey to its initial research conducted in May 2020, a couple of months after the pandemic caused shutdowns across the U.S. and shopping was driven online, it’s clear that retailers’ ecommerce returns practices are not keeping pace with the increase in online shopping. Doddle’s current research found that 75 percent of respondents feel retailers should be doing more to improve their returns experiences, as compared to 74 percent in May. Also similar to Doddle’s May research, the current survey revealed that a positive returns experience would encourage respondents to shop with the same online retailer again (86 percent vs. the earlier 84 percent).
“The findings demonstrate that with consumers’ ongoing desire to shop online, ecommerce returns present a great opportunity for increased sales and reinforcing customer loyalty, but retailers aren’t moving the needle when it comes to the returns experience and thus missing the boat,” said Dan Nevin, chief revenue officer, global retail for Doddle. “Our research also shows that consumers’ perception of the returns experience often comes down to three Cs – cost, communication and convenience.”
From a cost perspective, 66 percent of respondents say that they desire free returns, rather unsurprisingly topping the list of options consumers said they want ecommerce retailers to offer when returning an item. Interestingly, only 35 percent of shoppers usually return things for free, but 10 percent say they usually pay over $4.00 to return. And not only do shoppers want free returns, but they also find being charged a restocking fee extremely off-putting, with 57 percent saying they would reconsider shopping with a retailer in the future if an amount was taken off their refund for sending an item back.
The survey findings also show that 53 percent of consumers desire good communications and visibility during the return process (e.g., tracking a parcel, confirmation of receipt, refund information, etc.). In addition, respondents want a digital communications process that requires no need to contact a customer service agent, as 33 percent say having to do that is annoying enough to make them reconsider shopping again with a retailer.
With regards to convenience, 50 percent of shoppers want a convenient location to return an item(s) to (e.g., local store, post office, etc.), with 65 percent likely or very likely to return online purchases at their local grocery store if that option was available. Convenient locations for returns are especially important to older shoppers -- 58 percent of those over age 55 want them compared with 41 percent of those ages 18-24.
Additional findings include:
- Returns are as important as payment and delivery in the ecommerce shopping process (85 percent, 86 percent and 86 percent of respondents, respectively).
- More people want label-free returns than extra-long policies that allow them to return more than a month after purchase (31 percent vs. 28 percent).
- Older respondents are significantly more likely to want reusable/resealable packaging than younger shoppers (57 percent of those over age 55 vs. 41 percent of those ages 18-24).
- 21 percent of shoppers say they haven’t returned anything in the past 12 months.
- 25 percent of shoppers returned something they purchased or were gifted in the holiday season. The median number of items returned was three, with one the most common response.
Doddle’s survey was conducted by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,234 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between February 17-18, 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).
Doddle believes in the power of lasting impressions and helps carriers and retailers around the world create ecommerce delivery and returns experiences that attract customers, create differentiation and foster loyalty. Doddle uses its years of fulfilment experience - developed in one of the world’s toughest ecommerce markets - to help retailers and carriers devise sector leading fulfilment strategies that enhance customer experience, promote sustainable solutions and drive profitability and efficiency. Doddle’s white-label technology powers the creation, roll out and management of a full delivery ecosystem enabling processes from click & collect, click & reserve and ship from store through to automated returns. Each of its solutions is designed to drive loyalty, create cross selling opportunities, promote efficiency and address the need for more sustainable solutions. Doddle’s expertise and technology is trusted by some of the world’s biggest retail and fulfilment brands from ASOS and Amazon to USPS and Australia Post. Headquartered in London, Doddle also has regional teams in the U.S., Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Find out more at: doddle.com/us