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Online returns fuelled by customer dissatisfaction

17 May 2016 - 10:36 by David Aiken

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The latest report from YouGov has found that people who return items they have purchased via safe shopping online tend to do so because they are not satisfied with some aspect of the item in question.

Twelve per cent of respondents said that they had been motivated to make a return after a product failed to match the images they had seen on the retailer’s site. Furthermore, a fifth said that they sent back items if they did not meet expectations on build quality.

Just over a third of those questioned said that sending back items was necessary if they were the wrong size. And the majority of those who have returned items in the past said that they had done so within the first three days of taking delivery of them, the Royal Mail-commissioned study found.

Report spokesperson, Nick Landon, said that British shoppers were particularly sensitive to the comprehensiveness of the returns policies that retailers offer via safe shopping online. And in fact many people check this first before committing to a purchase.

Industry expert, Patrick Fagan, told Internet Retailing that the issue of perception can result in a high rate of returns, since not everyone responds to an image in the same way and it is easy for false first impressions to be gained when relying solely on retouched digital photos of items to decide whether or not they are worth buying.

This explains the trend of ‘showrooming’ which is common across the UK, with shoppers visiting high street stores to get a firsthand look at a product before using an e-commerce site to actually buy it. And, as the popularity of online shopping grows, more people are using bricks and mortar outlets in this way to minimise the need for returns.