An onslaught of online returns threatens to punch a hole in retailers post-Christmas revenues, as the latest report from SendCloud revealed that more than two-thirds of consumers abandon online orders when there is no clear return policy.
The research revealed that 49% of UK consumers say they return products when unsatisfied while 67% admit to abandoning online orders when there is no return policy available.
Returns often cost time, money and involving extensive paperwork, making them difficult for both retailers and consumers. Almost six out of 10 consumers (58%) said returns are a big hassle for them.
More than half of consumers (55%) also believe it is up to the retailer to arrange and pay for a product return, while 75% expect to be reimbursed within a week of sending items back.
The report said the lack of a clear return policy is a missed revenue opportunity for online retailers. Three-quarters of consumers would order more frequently at stores if they offered free returns, while 71% would order more if returns were made quick and easy.
The most important aspects of the return policy to consumers were cost (70%) and information on when they can expect to receive a refund (53%).
“Retailers often preconceive the returns process to be a real headache and are sometimes tempted to make their return policies more complicated in an attempt to reduce returns,” SendCloud chief executive officer Rob van den Heuvel said.
“However, the exact opposite is true as our research has proved that a simple and clear return policy is actually key in driving conversions. In fact, what we’ve found is that retailers which offer a longer return period result in fewer returns because customers are less concerned with the product that still has to be returned.”
“All in all, a simple and clear return policy actually pays off.”