The risk of returns discourages online shoppers
A majority of Swedes have at some point refrained from shopping online due to the risk of having to make a return. Many have even refrained from returning goods they did not really want to keep. These are some of the findings in the new survey State of Returns 2022, which the after-sales company Reclaimit has commissioned Novus to carry out.
It comes as no surprise that 97 percent of Swedes shop online, of which half shop online at least once a month. But the survey also shows that the risk of returns means that many online purchases never even happen due to concerns about potential returns.
54 percent of the respondents state that they have refrained from buying online due to the risk of having to return an item. What creates the most dissatisfaction with return handling is whether the customer has to pay the return cost or that the return process is perceived as overall cumbersome.
Nobody wants unnecessary returns, neither e-retailers nor customers, says Wilhelm Hamilton, CEO of Reclaimit. At the same time, our survey shows that concerns about returns being cumbersome discourage customers from buying. Therefore, optimizing the return and after-sales management is an important activity for e-retailers and a prerequisite for more purchases to be made online in the future.
The survey also shows that 67 percent of all e-commerce customers have returned an item at least one time. But 30 percent state that they have kept goods – mainly clothes and shoes – that they did not really want to keep. The main reason why e-commerce customers skip returning goods even though they do not want to keep them is due to laziness (45%), followed by it being too cumbersome to return or because of poor information (38%). The fact that it is too expensive to return is also a common reason (24%) for non-return.
In summary, the survey clearly shows how crucially important a good return experience is for business and long-term customer loyalty.
My conclusion from the survey is that cumbersome return processes are bad for both e-retailers' sales and the environment, says Wilhelm Hamilton. The bad news is that a bad experience after the purchase most often means that the customer will not shop in the same store again. The good news is that I know for a fact that a safe, transparent, and smooth handling of returns equals more satisfied and loyal customers