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Product Category Influences Returns Rates More Than Free Delivery Services

22 May 2019 - 16:41 by Sarah Collinson

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Retailers that allow customers to order products via safe shopping online with the added benefit of free shipping and returns need not worry about how such a policy will impact the proportion of packages which are sent back.

This is according to a study from Whistl which suggests that there are a number of misconceptions about how delivery policies impact returns volumes, assuaging fears that e-commerce sites may have around this issue.

Instead, it was discovered that people are more likely to return particular items as a result of their nature rather than according to whether or not it will not cost them anything to do so.

The product categories in which returns are most widespread include footwear, fashion items, gadgets and home appliances.

The items which are rarely returned are video games, products designed for domestic animals and books, according to Internet Retailing.

The majority of the consumers questioned as part of the report explained that sub-standard returns policies would be a big road block to securing their loyalty to a given retailer. Furthermore, there were divides along age and gender lines, with older female consumers more sensitive to bad returns experiences than their younger male counterparts.

Free delivery and returns are important to ensuring customer satisfaction, but researchers also found that people want this process to be as quick and painless as possible. This was especially true if refunds were needed, with more affluent shoppers being less concerned with the speed of a post-return reimbursement.

Retailers are currently looking to drive down the number of returns they have to handle, given that these rates have been rising consistently along with the growth in online shopping. However, this study suggests that making the returns process costly or complicated is not a good idea where customer loyalty is concerned.