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Latest Issue: Jul/Aug 17

Voxware research attributes most returns to retailer error

Voxware has released research which highlights the primary reasons why consumers return items purchased online or by phone - and how their returns experience affects future purchases.  Highlights from the survey which collected responses from 500 consumers include:

* 54 per cent stated that the reason for returning an item is incorrect size or colour

* 97 per cent said that the returns process is important to their future intentions to shop with a retailer 

* 73 per cent who receive an incorrect item after already making a return once state they are much less likely to shop with the retailer again 

* 45 per cent who have experienced continuous returns process issues with particular retailers stated that they had stopped shopping with that retailer altogether (online, phone or in-store)

* 26 per cent expect the correct item to be shipped to them within one or two days after returning an incorrect item

Respondents giving reasons for making returns:

* 57 per cent noted that more often they return an item because they did not like it once seeing it in person

* 42 per cent noted that more often, they return an items because it is in the incorrect size or colour 

* 15 per cent noted that they return an item purchased online or by phone because it is the incorrect item altogether

This equates to 57 per cent of respondents having to make returns due to retailer error and nearly 25 per cent  of survey participants  stated that  they have experienced returns issues more frequently with particular retailers - with most of the problems with continuous returns issues occurring with larger retailers versus small ones.

"This research proves that the majority of the time, consumers return products due to retailer error," stated Keith Philips, president and CEO, Voxware. "Mistakes in the supply chain are happening all too frequently which not only increase distribution costs, but also severely impact  customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and ultimately bottom lines. Online  shopping and consumer expectations will only continue to increase."

In the wider market problems with mounting returns are causing many catalogue and online retailers to review not only their order processing, pick and pack operations performance quality,  but also the over-promises made in product marketing copy which their teams may be making. Many are also now much more alert for the need for colour correction to ensure that customers can better see what they are buying and make their purchasing decision in an informed way. The implication here is that some merchants are over-embellishing quality claims and portraying garment colours inaccurately meaning that customers receiving their orders will be disappointed. Similarly with the huge variance these days in sizing between brands the clear message is that retailers must ensure that consumers can easily access fitting charts and extra sizing information to ensure that they are ordering the most appropriate size for a good fit.