TECHNOLOGY

Study: E-commerce returns experience critical to shopping journey

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

E-commerce sales may be hitting all-time highs, but the key to success is seamless online returns processes.

This was according to “Making Returns a Competitive Advantage,” a report from Navar. The report is based on responses from 700 U.S. consumers who returned an online purchase in the past 12 months.

According to the report, online sales hit nearly $400 billion in 2016. If retailers want to continue wooing shoppers, they need to nail online returns — especially for those under the age of 30.

Millennials (approximately 75.4 million in the U.S. alone) make 54% of their purchases online. They are also making more online returns than ever before — and many retailers are not meeting their expectations.

In fact, 48% of millennials said returns are a hassle. As many as 60% keep purchases they dislike because they don't want to deal with returning them — this is 18% higher than shoppers over the age of 30, the report revealed.

High-income shoppers have similar perceptions and behaviors when it comes to returns. They are also 1.5 times more likely than the average consumer to return an online purchase.

"Returns are the new normal," said Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail industry analyst who collaborated with Narvar on the study.

"Most shoppers are frequently returning online purchases, while remaining loyal to brands if they have a positive experience,” Mulpuru said. “Retailers who want to remain competitive will find ways to reduce friction in the returns process, whether that's communicating more updates, providing more transparency, or offering free return shipping.”

One reason for increased online returns is the trend of “bracketing,” when shoppers “buy to try,” with the intention of keeping their favorite item and returning the rest. This trend is most common among millennials, high-income and female shoppers. It is also most prevalent among the apparel and home goods categories.

Currently, women — especially those under the age of 30 and high-income shoppers — have done bracketing this in the past year, compared to 30% of men. Meanwhile, 45% of shoppers aged 18-29 have done this in the past year, compared to 38% of shoppers over the age of 30. Among high-income shoppers, (those who make more than $100,000/year) 48% have done this in the past year, compared to 31% of the rest of the population, according to data.

Retailers that can make this process easier will gain a competitive advantage. Shoppers like returning items to stores so they can get immediate credit (35%) and shop for other items (28%) —this is especially true for high-income consumers and shoppers under the age of 30, the report said.

Traditional retailers also have a leg up on online retailers, like Amazon, that require complex return processes, such as contacting the retailer for return authorization. However, the e-commerce giant also provides greater transparency into the process, further earning the loyalty of shoppers.

For example, 75% of Amazon shoppers gave the experience a 4 or 5 on a five-point scale, compared to 70% of overall survey respondents. Meanwhile, 32% of Amazon consumers like tracking their return package, versus 25% overall; 45% like that they are informed when their refund is processed (compared to 25%) and 34% receive updates on the status of their return (compared to 15%).

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Do you think retail brands should steer clear of taking a stance on social and political issues?
TECHNOLOGY

German discount grocer in deal with fashion icon

BY Marianne Wilson

Supermodel, designer, TV star and all-around celebrity Heidi Klum is teaming up with an unusual partner.

On the heels of its entry into the United States, German discount grocer Lidl announced its first ever fashion collaboration, with Heidi Klum. The collection, described as high-end yet affordable, will be available exclusively at Lidl and will launch across its stores in Europe and the United States later this year. Collections will be featured at certain times throughout the year, during "Lidl Fashion Weeks.”

“We are incredibly enthusiastic to work with Heidi Klum," said Boudewijn Tiktak, Lidl US’s chief commercial officer. "She has designed a collection that truly reflects her experience as a trendsetter, and she put as much love in designing this collection as we do in all our products. At Lidl, we believe high-quality fashion should be attainable for everyone and we look forward to sharing this collection with our customers later this year.”

Lidl operates about 10,000 stores in 27 countries throughout Europe. It is scheduled to open its first stores in the United States in June, in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Do you think retail brands should steer clear of taking a stance on social and political issues?
TECHNOLOGY

eBay personalizes every shopper’s visit

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Shoppers are demanding that retailers treat them as individuals, and eBay is listening.

eBay is launching an enhanced, more personalized eBay shopping experience through a new homepage that is responsive to its individual customers’ interests. Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, eBay is tailoring recommendations across all categories during each shopper’s new site visit, and serving up an inventory mix that's unique only to them.

The program stems from results of a new study conducted by eBay. In this report, the retailer learned that nine out of 10 Americans (93%) want the things they buy to reflect the "real them.”

To bolster these enhanced, individualized shopping experiences, eBay also launched a new advertising and branding strategy dubbed "Fill Your Cart With Color.” The program, which was developed with upstart creative agency 72andSunny Los Angeles, will launch with a new TV spot, followed by an approach across TV, cinema, out-of-home (OOH) advertising, such as billboards, display and social, the company said.

The new creative captures real, vibrant people — from a celebrated artist, to a sneaker aficionado, among others — sharing their passions, personality and perspectives. Each highlights selections from eBay's cross-category merchandise and just a few of the ways shoppers can use eBay to find what's perfect for them, the retailer explained.

"As consumers pursue their passions and reject conformity, both in commerce and culture, 'Fill Your Cart With Color' celebrates the things that truly make people unique, and connects to what people love about eBay, from new and unique items to personalized experiences,” said Karl Isaac, VP of global brand at eBay.

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

Polls

Do you think retail brands should steer clear of taking a stance on social and political issues?