Christmas returns hit record high level

Published on 07 January 2015 by in Latest News

Reports show that a record number of unwanted Christmas gifts will be returned this year, with approximately 30 million goods worth a total of £500m.

The majority of goods were expected to be returned during the day known as ‘Boomerang Thursday’ the first Thursday after Christmas, but large amounts of goods will continue to be returned throughout January.

iStock 000018349515 Small 300x202 Christmas returns hit record high levelAs the number of gifts being returned to e-retailers hits a new record high, this means that the customer service provided needs to meet consumer expectations. Customers expect companies to provide them with a hassle-free returns experience. The loyalty of a consumer can be dependent on the flexibility of this process and how easy it is for a user to return an unsatisfactory item.

According to Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP Consulting, e-retailers may be unprepared and not equipped to cope with the logistics of this surge in returns. “Even some of the big retailers are not very well equipped to handle returns,” he said.

Across ecommerce, returns average 15-20 per cent, although fashion retailers see much higher rates of up to 50 per cent. Collect Plus, has estimated that 31 per cent of goods purchased online this Christmas will be returned. As a result, numero believe that whilst most companies will be focusing on growing sales in January, they shouldn’t neglect the returns side of the operation.

“The growth of ecommerce has been astronomical, but the processes to support the returns part of ecommerce hasn’t matched it,” said Nila Patel, business development manager at Norbert Dentressangle, one of the UK’s largest parcel carriers.

The record number of online sales in December already caught out businesses with carriers such as Yodel and high street retailers including Marks and Spencer suffering delays with their delivery processes. Experts are warning customers to continue to expect further waits for their refunds.

“Returns are going to be delayed and customers are going to be upset they’re not getting their money back,” said Ms Patel.

iStock 000007674385 Small 300x199 Christmas returns hit record high levelWith omni channel retail fast becoming the norm, consumers’ heightened shopping expectations are placing pressure on brands to offer a more competitive range of returns options. In a recent study, stress free returns and exchanges ranked above average in terms of importance for online shoppers. Consumers who collect an online purchase in store, for example, will naturally expect to be able to return it using this same channel, but may also value the option to send products back in the post. Likewise consumers who place orders via their mobile devices will expect to organise and track returns via this channel.

It’s clear that consumer expectations are rapidly shifting, with consumers demanding an integrated omni channel experience throughout the purchase process and beyond. To achieve this, retailers need to stop focusing on individual channel strategies and start ensuring that they are meeting the needs of consumers across all points of the customer journey.

Contact numero today to discover how we can make online returns as efficient and manageable as possible.

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