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Retailers criticised over returns policies

15 March 2018 - 07:23 by David Aiken

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A study from Rebound has found that consumers are eager for retailers to improve their returns processes, especially as safe shopping online is increasingly common.

Forty two per cent of consumers aged under 35 admitted that they were more likely to return items ordered via the web today than they were in 2016.

Nine out of 10 said that they often made purchasing decisions based on the type of returns policy that a website operates. And 35 per cent said that they felt retailers could do more to facilitate this.

Almost two thirds of respondents claimed that being able to send back unwanted items through a courier was the most appealing option.

Nine per cent said that most of the sites they use to carry out safe shopping online are not upfront about their returns practices.

Report spokesperson, Graham Best, said that Millennials were especially sensitive to the availability of straightforward returns options when buying online. He also pointed out that companies can overcome some of the problems by simply communicating more regularly with their customers to avoid confusion.

Best singled out fashion site, ASOS, as being particularly on the ball when it comes to returns and with clothing products being among those most regularly sent back to online retailers, it makes sense to get this right.

Of course, returns themselves are a costly issue that companies need to manage carefully. Many consumers order multiple versions of the same item in different sizes, then send back those that do not fit.

Returns create a lot of extra work for retailers, but they cannot afford to ignore this problem, with shoppers becoming more discerning. Even minor issues can be enough to put people off from returning to use a site a second time after they are dissatisfied.