Two in three consumers abandon orders in absence of return policy

After a record-breaking peak season, a £7bn returns nightmare is threatening to punch a hole in online retailers’ post-Christmas revenues

Two in three consumers admitted to abandoning their online orders when there is no return policy available, according to research by Sendcloud.

It found that three-quarters of consumers said they would order more frequently at stores if they offered free returns, while 71% said the same if returns were made “quick and easy”.

The research disclosed after a record-breaking peak season, a “£7bn returns nightmare” is “threatening to punch a hole” in online retailers’ post-Christmas revenues

More than half of consumers (55%) also said it is up to the retailer to arrange and pay for a product return, with most consumers (75%) expected to be reimbursed within a week of sending items back.

It added that with returns often costing time, money, and involving plenty of paperwork, both retailers and consumers alike are finding returns a headache to deal with – 58% of UK consumers indicated that returns are a “big hassle” to them.

The most important aspects of the return policy to consumers were found to be the cost (70%), providing a returns label (61%), and information on when they can expect to receive a refund (53%).

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO, Sendcloud, said: “Retailers often preconceive the returns process to be a real headache and are sometimes tempted to make their return policies more complicated in an attempt to reduce returns.

“However, the exact opposite is true as our research has proved that a simple and clear return policy is actually key in driving conversions. In fact, what we’ve found is that retailers which offer a longer return period result in fewer returns because customers are less concerned with the product that still has to be returned.”

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