Online Holiday Shopping Drives Record Returns

Online Holiday Shopping Drives Record Returns

The National Retail Federation said that merchandise returns cost U.S. retailers more than $260 billion in lost sales.

Ecommerce sales are causing a record in returns. National Returns Day, January 5, will reach a new peak, according to  UPS.

Holiday shoppers are projected to return 1.3 million packages with UPS on National Returns Day and more than 5.8 million packages during the first full week of January 2017.

In 2016, shoppers returned more than 1 million packages on National Returns Day and 5 million packages during the peak returns week.

The National Retail Federation said that merchandise returns cost U.S. retailers more than $260 billion in lost sales.

The process of returning packages has seen improvement, according to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study. Online shoppers are seeing the improvements that retailers have made to returns programs over the last five years. Between 2012 and 2016, consumers consistently reported fewer issues paying for returns shipping (decreasing from 66% to 50%), paying restocking fees (decreasing from 43% to 27%), and experiencing a delay in receiving credits or refunds (decreasing from 41% to 27%).

“While returns can’t be eliminated, an easy to use returns experience should be one of several retail strategies to enhance customer loyalty and manage the cost of returns processing,” said Teresa Finley, chief marketing officer for UPS.

According to the UPS study, 70% of online shoppers made an additional purchase when they returned an item to a store and 45% made an additional purchase when processing their return on the retailer’s website.

The returns process begins with including the necessary returns paperwork or instructions for the customer to effortlessly complete the transaction.

Online shoppers report the best returns experience includes:

-Free returns shipping (60%)

- Hassle-free returns policy (51%)

-Easy-to-print return labels (44%)

-Timely refunds (42%

- Relabel in the box (40%)

“Retailers are continuously improving their returns programs,” continued Finley. “The next great opportunity is to unlock the value of these returned products through a sophisticated reverse logistics program.” 

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