Returns are an unavoidable aspect of business for ecommerce retailers. A great returns process is important to consumers and their perception of your company. According to a study by ShipStation, 72% of shoppers say that return policies directly influence their online buying decisions.
Understanding what consumers expect when it comes to returns can help you transform the process from an inconvenience into a business advantage. An easy, fair return policy not only makes consumers more likely to buy from you in the first place, but will also encourage customers to come back to you even after a return.
In fact, 49% of consumers become repeat customers after returning or exchanging items.
Here is what you need to know to improve your returns process and convert consumers:
The Importance of Returns for Cart Conversion
Two-thirds of consumers have left their cart at the checkout stage due to a poor return policy. Fair and easy returns are crucial for converting consumers into customers.
63% of consumers consider ease of returns when buying online. Ease can include providing a prepaid return label with the original delivery, customer-initiated returns, quick access to customer service, and more.
84% of shoppers want fast and easy returns. This seems intuitive, but providing a truly fast and easy process can be time-intensive and expensive.
67% of consumers say that a free return process is influential in their decision to buy from a company again.
However, free returns are not something every ecommerce seller will be able to afford. If free returns aren’t an option for your business, consider including the cost of returns in the original price of the product or find the lowest possible rates.
78% of consumers would rather have a prepaid shipping label included with the delivery with the return cost deducted from their refund.
- As long as the price of the return is reasonable, customers are more concerned with the ease of the return than the cost. Deducting the cost directly from their refund is a good way to minimize effort on the part of the customer.
32 days is the average return window consumers expect.
- Offer customers a reasonable amount of time to make a decision about their purchase and ship it back.
$5 is the most customers are willing to pay to process a return.
- Consumers are price-sensitive about returns– make sure low (or zero) costs are a priority for your returns process.
77% of consumers prefer to make returns in-store.
- If you have a brick and mortar, see that it is easy for customers to return online purchases in-store.
Returns are a hassle for both businesses and customers. However, understanding what customers expect when it comes to returns can help build customer trust and loyalty. A fair and easy returns process can serve as an important touchpoint or competitive advantage among your competition.
To learn more about customer expectations and how to master your returns process, download ShipStation’s Returns eBook today.