search.noResults

search.searching

dataCollection.invalidEmail
note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Shopfloor ADAM BERNSTEIN: RETAIL EXPERT Returning pain 34


As part of this month’s special online focus, Adam Bernstein offers guidance on how retailers should handle the online returns process.


S


elling online can add much to a business – new customers, greater reach, and to an extent, ‘free’ advertising if social media is


deployed properly. But online brings the risk of returns because of a statutory right granted to consumers to cancel an order within 14 days of receipt. At any one time a proportion of sales are at risk of being returned – there’s a loss on delivery charges which must be refunded, administration cost related to processing the returns, and of course, the question of what to do with returned items. However, rights granted under law also give consumers confidence in what they may be ordering.


Why we return


There are a number of reasons why consumers return products. Some are legitimate, but others are close on illegal if not morally bankrupt. Take ‘wardrobing’, where consumers order clothing to wear once, without removing tags, and then return the item for a refund after use. Electronics and tools see the same abuse.


But other reasons include faulty products on arrival, incorrect sizing or fit or product expectations not met, to name just a few. It’s of note that according to Readycloud.com, an online shipping and marketing platform, 65 per cent of returns occur because of a retailer’s actions – especially those related to consumer expectations and sizing. But these should be easy to fix with detailed and accurate descriptions of the product, design, sizing, colour, materials, specifications and so on. Quality imagery from different angles that allows consumers to


determine what they’re considering combined with regular and reliable sizing should also help. Where appropriate, product videos may help consumers gain further insight. This approach works well with technical items including equipment and electronic devices. Allied to this is an option for consumers to review purchases with pointers for others on description accuracy. Another option is to allow in-store collection when possible. This cuts out the shipping cost and risk of products being damaged or going missing in transit. It also gives consumers the chance to examine an item before completing the purchase, which should reduce the need to return items as alternatives may be found while in store.


But retailers should also be checking if certain products are being returned in greater numbers than others; a rise could indicate a problem with a particular product or the way it’s been promoted that misleads.


Creating a returns policy A decent returns policy is a must and it should be written for use as a sales tool. Be upfront: A returns policy should make it easy for the consumer to understand their position. It should give consumers peace of mind. Remember – almost 80 per cent of consumers check a returns policy before making a purchase.


Cover shipping costs: A 2012 study from


Washington and Lee University in the US found that free returns can have a major impact on future sales. The research from two surveys, over


49 months, demonstrated that when consumers received free shipping on returned items, their purchases over the next two years increased by between 58 and 357 per cent! In contrast, when consumers had to pay for return shipping, their subsequent purchases decreased by between 74 and 100 per cent.


Give options: Convenience is orientated around the consumer, not the retailer. This makes it important to offer options when making returns. In store, Royal Mail, Collect+, MyHermes, DHL – offer the flexibility that consumers demand.


For some, in store is preferred as it’s sometimes easier. It’s instant, with no wait for a refund or worry about items lost in the post and it also allows the potential for a ‘replacement’ sale while reducing a retailer’s own returns- related costs.


Others will still prefer to post the item back; a pre-printed returns label will be correctly addressed and legible.


The refund: It stings to make a refund but there’s no point dallying. From the consumer’s perspective it’s an irritant that retailers seem quick to take payment, but slow to refund. Again, retailers that are slow may lose future custom.


Remember Christmas: Black Friday and Christmas makes for perilous times in retail as consumers often buy gifts ahead of the holiday season. By definition, the legal right to return won’t apply and so retailers should extend the returns period if they want to win custom.


April 2020 ertonline.co.uk


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36