TECHNOLOGY

Walmart improves its marketplace returns process — for customers and sellers

BY CSA Staff

A discount giant wants to make online returns even less of a hassle.

Starting this fall, customers buying items from third parties on Walmart.com will be able to print shipping labels directly from the website and clearly see the return policies for individual items online, according to CNBC, which obtained a memo that Walmart sent to sellers.

Soon, marketplace sellers will also be able to use the company’s “‘Returns Shipping Service,” which offers special discounted shipping rates. Despite these changes, sellers will still have the ability to to set returns windows and shipping fees.

The improvements come almost a year after Amazon changed its own returns and refunds processes, a move that sparked outrage from third-party sellers, the report added.

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Britain joins the online taxation fight

BY CSA Staff

Concerned with tax breaks that benefit digital retailers, the U.K. government wants to make a change.

British Finance Minister Phillip Hammond is strongly considering introducing an “Amazon tax,” a move that would ensure taxation was fair for retail companies doing business the “traditional” way, as well as for those conducting business online, according to Sky News.

While Hammond didn’t suggest a specific plan to reform business rates, he indicated that the country needs a new set of taxes to tackle online businesses, which tend to pay far less than their traditional competitors. Hammond suggested a renegotiation of international tax treaties “because many of the big online businesses are international companies. If we can’t get international agreement to do this we may have to look at temporary tax measures to rebalance the playing field until we can get international agreements,” he said in the report.

Hammond told Sky News he is considering “temporary tax measures to rebalance the playing field until we can get international agreements.”

The consideration comes on the heels of reports that revealed Amazon paid less corporation tax in the U.K. in 2017 than it did the previous year.

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Study: Cumbersome checkout alienates online shoppers

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Complicated online checkout is taking a toll on digital sales — and long-term customer loyalty.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of online shoppers will abandon their carts during the checkout process if it is too long or too complicated. In addition to abandoning their carts, 55% of consumers would never return to that retailer’s site, according to new data from Splitit.

Cart abandonment rates hover at about 70% overall, and older shoppers seem to have the least patience. For example,  90% of those aged 55 and older would not complete a long or complicated checkout process. This is compared to 83% of millennials, who said they would not follow through with a lengthy checkout.

Meanwhile, a mere 7% of those over the age of 55 would exit a lengthy checkout but return to the site later, compared to only 12% of millennials.

Excessive advertisements in the checkout process also make consumers less inclined to complete an online purchase, with 25% of respondents citing it as the reason for abandoning their carts. Millennials were less bothered by ads, with only 19% reporting that too many ads during the checkout process would cause them to abandon their cart. This contrasts with 28% of those aged 45 and older who would abandon their cart if they felt there were too many ads.

“With cart abandonment rates so high, retailers still have work to do in streamlining the online shopping experience,” said Gil Don, CEO and co-founder of Splitit.

“While consumers appreciate having options, it is essential that the checkout process is seamless, at the risk of permanently losing customers,” he said. “Online merchants must be sure to include clear and easy ways to enter customer details, choose delivery options and make payments, while ensuring that the process does not become cumbersome for the shopper.”

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