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54% of Europeans think about returning item before purchasing

More than half of Europeans said they think about returning an item before they have even purchased it. Also, 27 percent will not purchase abroad if the cost of returns is high and 23 percent back away from ordering abroad if the returns policy is unclear. Online retailers in Europe still have much to fix with regards to returns, a new study shows.

B2C Europe, which offers solutions for cross-border delivery, surveyed over 2,400 people in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. It then analyzed the data and wrote a guide to help online retailers reduce the rate of returns.

The guide shows some interesting key findings. As said, more than half of respondents are already thinking about returning an item before they even purchased it. Also, consumers in Europe still are reluctant about shopping online at foreign stores. If the cost of returns is high, 27 percent of consumers won’t purchase at an online store abroad. And if the returns policy is unclear to them, 23 percent will not buy something from that international website.

Have a clear and simple returns policy

Online retailers who want to welcome more foreign consumers, should do something about their return policies as 36 percent of European shoppers said they would be more likely to shop at international online stores if there was certainty about these policies. “A clear and simple returns process reassures consumers who may be reluctant about making cross border purchases”, B2C Europe writes.

Consumer expectations in Europe

The report also shows some interesting graphics about consumer expectations. For example, returns being free of charge is seen as a standard service by 60 percent of respondents, while return at a collection point nearby is seen as a standard service by 47 percent; one in three respondents think this is an added value, while almost one in ten (9 percent) think it’s just a waste of money. Also, almost half of respondents prefer a refund over getting store credit.

Clear information about returns is especially important for consumers in Spain, Germany and Italy. And many consumers in Switzerland and Germany consider the possibility of more expensive returns as a barrier to shopping cross-border.

Consumer expectations in Europe

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