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78% of shoppers would buy more if there are free returns

Most online shoppers would order more in the long-run if an online retailer offers free returns. And a significant 84 percent of shoppers won’t even come back to a store if they’ve encountered a poor returns experience.


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This is just one of the following conclusions that could be drawn from a study conducted by Klarna across 2,000 consumers from the United Kingdom. It shows that the majority of online shoppers think returns are now a normal part of online shopping.

Easy and free returns attract (returning) customers

Whenever they need to choice a retailer to spend their money with, three in four shoppers say easy returns are an important factor. And it’s not just that a good return process can help retailers with attracting new customers, it can also help them keep those customers with them. Because 78 percent of consumers in the UK say they would buy more with a retailer over time if there are free returns.

This is also shown by the fact 86 percent of respondents say having the possibility to return bought items for free, makes them loyal and more likely to keep coming back to an online retailer.

For consumers, not everything is about free, free, free. They also really appreciate some flexibility from the retailer. The study shows that retailers that offer flexible returns and payment options are more likely to keep ahead of competitors.

Consumers want several return and payment options

Most shoppers (84 percent) want to be able to choose whether to return an item in-store or via post or pickup. And one in three say they are more likely to buy something online if they have the opportunity to pay for it after they’ve tried it at home.

The study Klarna has conducted this year, it also did in 2017, so it is now able to compare the results. This shows that the volume of online items being returned has increased by 14 percent, while consumers returning faulty items has increased from 12 to 26 percent in just two years’ time.

Reasons to return items

The number of consumers returning something of which the quality wasn’t what they expected increased even from 6 to 22 percent. Also, 27 percent of shoppers bring back items because the fit wasn’t right, while 19 percent return something because it looked different online than in real life.

“If retailers wants to reduce their online returns, they should look to improve their online product representations with 81% of shoppers saying that better photos and descriptions would help reduce the ‘false expectations effect’ and consequently the amount they return”, Klarna explains.

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