Survey finds returns experience critical to customer satisfaction and retention

With a spike in e-commerce returns expected post-covid-19, retailers must ensure their returns processes and systems are ready, as 74% of surveyed respondents think retailers need to improve

A Doddle conducted survey via YouGov has found that consumers weigh returns as equally significant as delivery and payment with regards to their overall e-commerce experience.

The research found that 84% said the returns experience is important with regards to their opinion of a retailer, with 83% saying the same for delivery and payment.

It also found that almost three quarters of respondents - 74% - feel retailers' returns experiences need to be better.

The survey also found that 84% of respondents said a positive returns experience encourages them to shop with a retailer again while 74% of consumers noted that U.S. retailers should do more to improve their returns experiences.

When asked what they would prefer from retailers when returning an item 68% of respondents said free returns would be the most beneficial but 60% said if they had to pay shipping fees to return an item they would reconsider using that retailer again.

It has been challenging for many retailers to understand the overall effect of e-commerce returns, as the process has typically been manual, not digitized like other processes including delivery and payment. With no real insight into the impact of returns, they have been considered a necessary but unfortunate cost and therefore side-lined in terms of importance, particularly with regards to customers' overall satisfaction and retention.

"COVID-19 has generated a significant bump in e-commerce sales, with e-commerce returns only expecting to increase as well as a result," said Dan Nevin, Doddle's North America CEO. "Between the impending surge in returns, consumers' experiences with the process and the overall impact on satisfaction and retention, the timing has never been better for retailers to get a solid handle on their e-commerce returns processes and systems.”

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