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Survey finds free return shipping is priority of online shoppers

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Philadelphia -- Eighty-one percent of online shoppers say they are not likely to make additional purchases from websites that charge shipping on returns and 69% feeling that returning items purchased online is a complicated process, according to a survey by ShopRunner that was conducted online by Harris Interactive.

Researchers tracked actual consumer spending over the course of four years and found that retailers' return shipping policies greatly affected customer spending and loyalty. Customers paying for their own returns universally decreased their spending, between 75% and 100% at that retailer by the end of two years after the return. In contrast, customers who received free return shipping universally increased their spending with that retailer between 158% and 457%.

Aside from consumer demands around returns, with the increasing prevalence of mobile devices, the ShopRunner survey also found that 67% of online shoppers would purchase more online from their mobile device or computer if they could use the same secure, easy check-out procedure across all websites.

“These results demonstrate a huge opportunity for retailers to increase sales by meeting the increasing consumer demands for online shopping including free and easy returns, fast delivery, and streamlined checkout,” said Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer of ShopRunner. “The bar has been raised by competitors, but it is challenging for most retailers to cost-effectively offer these shopping benefits on their own.