Sixty-seven percent of U.S. consumers felt that returns were easy, but 26% of them felt that returns were just OK and 7% said that returns were difficult, according to a report from customer experience platform Narvar. The report found that the top reason why consumers returned goods from Amazon (34%) and other retailers (46%), was the wrong size, fit or color.
For U.S. consumers shopping with environmental sustainability in mind, 52% of consumers are willing to go in store for returns and 32% are willing to wait for multiple items to be bundled into one shipment, according to the report. Thirty-eight percent of U.S. consumers also thought in-store returns were easier, the report noted, adding that consumers prefer that option in order to avoid returns getting lost in the mail and receive immediate refunds.
Forty-eight percent of U.S. consumers bracket their online purchases, meaning they buy multiple versions of an item to try on at home and return the goods that aren't a good fit, per the report. Gen Z shoppers bracket more than their millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer peers (71% versus 67%, 52% and 36%, respectively), the report also noted.
Perfecting online returns has been a problem for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, alike. To that end, companies have been partnering with one another to improve convenience for consumers.
Back in April, Kohl's announced that it would accept Amazon returns at more than 1,150 physical stores across 48 states. In addition to Amazon's partnership with Kohl's, which has yielded growing customers and sales, Stein Mart announced in May that it would add Amazon lockers to nearly 200 stores. In December, Returnly also introduced the Instant Gift Exchange program for Shopify Plus, enabling customers to pick a new gift before returning an unwanted gift.
Narvar's findings indicate that while retailers have made some progress in simplifying online returns, they still have a ways to go before consumers are mostly satisfied. A report from Oracle also found that more than half of consumers said returns could be easier. Given that another report from Oracle found that 77% of consumers plan to return some of their gifts during the 2019 holiday season, now may be the time for retailers to rethink their return operations.