Sun, 02/14/2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed consumer habits. With the closure of stores, users primarily purchased online during the two confinements. Online shopping is now ingrained in consumer habits and this trend is not going away anytime soon in 2021 (see 5 expected e-commerce trends in 2021).

Whoever says online order announces a potential return. A step that is both neglected and dreaded. E-retailers are often reluctant to simplify the returns process for fear of encouraging them, when properly optimized, it can in fine be a real opportunity for e-retailers.

Contrary to popular belief, 94% of consumers rarely or never make returns. Only a minority go through this stage of the buying journey.

However, there are still barriers to returns: for 44 of the top 100 French e-retailers, the consumer has to contact them by email, phone, etc. to get information about returns.

Yet, according to our study, nearly one consumer out of two declares that a simplified returns policy is an important criterion for products purchased online

So how can we make this step easier and more intuitive for consumers?

Offering consumers different ways to return a product can be a phase of optimizing this step: according to our first study, the relay point comes in first place, favored by 62% of buyers. 30% prefer forwarding by the Post Office or a similar platform.

On the e-retailers' side, a gap is observed: 40% of them offer to return the products via a relay bridge and only 32% via Click&Collect.

How to overcome this gap?

A simplified procedure

Include a return label in the package, and communicate the terms of return upon purchase.

More ways to return.

Offer more ways to return a package, such as offering a pickup service where the carrier arrives on the desired date, and picks up the package to make the return.

Accurate communication

Inform the customer as soon as the package has arrived at the warehouse and when the refund has been processed.

Free returns:

Opt for more advantageous returns or free returns: almost one in two e-retailers still do not offer free returns.

The figures show: the stage of returns are still to be optimized. Despite the efforts made by e-retailers, there is still a gap between consumer demand and the options offered by online stores: e-retailers make this step too delicate for consumers, at the risk of slowing down the purchase. Faced with increasing demands and requirements, it is crucial that e-retailers optimize this return step in order to make it more accessible to consumers.

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