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Survey: 70% prefer to return/exchange gifts in store versus online

BY Marianne Wilson

Chicago — Nearly a quarter (21%) of consumers said that they are likely to return or exchange at least one of the presents that they received this holiday season. Additionally, male respondents expressed a greater interest in returning or exchanging gifts (30%) than female respondents (20%) by as much as 10%. That’s according to a survey by Retale, a location-based mobile platform connecting shoppers with their local retailers

Among all survey participants, the overwhelming majority (70%) prefer to return or exchange gifts in-store, while only 9% prefer to do so online. Some 21% of those surveyed had no specific venue preference. In-store returns and exchanges were eight times more preferred than online due to perceived convenience.

When asked to rate convenience for both in-store and online returns and exchanges, in-store was the clear frontrunner, with 62% rating the experience as convenient versus 21% inconvenient.

The online return and exchange experience was viewed less favorably, with 45% calling it convenient versus 38% inconvenient. Relatedly, 85% of those surveyed said that major retailers should allow in-store returns and exchange of gifts that were purchased online.

“Over the years, retailers have taken steps to make the return process as easy as possible, including receipt-free returns and even curb side pick-up,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale. Retailers have also gotten better at allowing customers to buy online and return in a physical store. They recognize the desire to move seamlessly from one channel to another and most have adjusted their processes to be able to make that happen for customers.”

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