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Report reveals expectations of free returns online

09 April 2015 - 14:18 by David Aiken

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A new survey, conducted by the Royal Mail, has revealed that 73 per cent of consumers currently expect that they should be offered the opportunity to return an item they ordered via safe shopping online but no longer want, according to Internet Retailing.

The study also uncovered the fact that almost two thirds of those questioned would be unwilling to shop with the same retailer again, if they were unable to access a free returns scheme.

Fifty six per cent even said that a free returns policy, which only honoured cost-free return delivery to the retailer for orders over a certain amount, would be enough to put them off and convince them to carry out safe shopping online with a competitor.

Sixteen per cent of respondents said that the majority of their shopping is now done online, with this proportion growing, year on year. As such, retailers are going to have to start adapting to the expectations and requirements of consumers for whom the internet is their chief hub for shopping.

Report spokesperson, Nick Landon, said that the convenience of e-commerce services was one of the biggest selling points, which is why a free returns policy can be an important asset to any company that is looking to win over new customers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most commonly returned products were items of clothing. And previous reports have highlighted the trend for ordering several versions of the same garment in different sizes, to allow the shopper to try them on at home, then return the items which do not fit.

People are less likely to return things like books and DVDs, presumably because there is less likelihood of a product of this type being an inappropriate purchase which the customer wishes to send back to the retailer.