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Consumer habits altered by new online payment options

30 March 2018 - 09:24 by Graham Miller

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Retailers are being warned that they could be hit with a raft of returns if they continue to embrace fresh approaches to the way in which customers can pay for goods.

This is according to a study from Brightpearl which draws attention to the rise of ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes which save shoppers money up front.

Internet Retailing reports that three quarters of consumers are eager to take advantage of this type of offer, which is being made available by outlets including Topman and Asos. With such demand, analysts expect that a growth in the volumes of products being returned is also inevitable.

Almost nine out of 10 people questioned said that they would be likely to return up to seven items ordered via safe shopping online, with a similar proportion claiming that returns should be handled free of charge, with retailers footing the bill for collection.

The rise in cross-border e-commerce has also put more pressure on retailers, with 40 percent of the firms questioned in the report saying that they have seen an increase in returns from overseas shoppers in the last year.

Allowing consumers to try products before they buy them with delayed payment definitely makes sense in the context of safe shopping online. But it is easy to see how this might get out of hand if left unchecked.

Report spokesperson Derek O’Carroll said that consumers were getting a great deal out of buy now, pay later services. However, from a retailer perspective, the initial boost to sales that this delivers will be counteracted further down the line if returns flood in as the payment date looms.

He argued that businesses needed to be properly prepared for such an eventuality and must think carefully before blindly committing to these payment schemes.