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Tricky Returns Policies Put Off Consumers from Placing Online Orders

07 January 2020 - 10:20 by Graham Miller

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Just over half of respondents to a recent study conducted by Splitit said that they have chosen not to go through with a purchase via safe shopping online because they believe that returning their order will be a challenge.

60 per cent of those questioned said that they had gone through the returns process with an e-commerce site at least once in the past, while more than a third said that they sent back around one in ten of the orders they placed for one reason or another.

48 per cent said that they were familiar with the benefits of using a returns policy to order several versions of the same product in order to see which size, colour or feature set best fit their personal needs.

This indicates that there is definitely a demand for simple returns to be available as widely as possible, even if in many cases consumers are dissatisfied with the options offered by the retailers they frequent.

Indeed, the study showed that younger customers are even more discerning when it comes to returns than their more mature counterparts. Amongst Millennials, the proportion of people who had executed a returns-policy-based basket abandonment at some point was 67 per cent.

There has been much discussion of the merits and pitfalls of returns policies in recent months, specifically focusing on the impact that such services have both on the environment and on the costs that retailers have to cope with.

While free returns policies are seen as the most appealing option by shoppers, these do encourage a more liberal use of returns, which in turn increases the amount that retailers have to spend on shipping. Finding a happy medium is difficult, but doing so could solve many of the current problems.