Now that returns are the new normal, more shoppers are factoring returns into their purchasing decisions, according to a March report from Klarna, a Stockholm-based payments company. The report found that 82% of shoppers thought returns were a routine part of shopping.
Consumers are very wedded to free returns. Out of the 2,000 respondents, 84% said they would be more likely to buy from a store that offered free returns, but 62% of shoppers said they wouldn't make a purchase from a store that didn't offer free returns, the report found.
Online shoppers are seeking a more seamless experience, and retailers who deliver will get repeat customers. Nearly half (44%) of respondents said slow returns are the most frustrating part of the returns process, but 86% said they are more likely to return to a retailer that offers free returns.
Yes, returns are costly for retailers, but, as this latest report points out, getting returns right is key to satisfying customers. It's critical for stores to provide customers with a seamless returns process and multiple payment options, which might mean retailers need to be a little more creative with their payments offerings.
While it should be noted that Klarna offers payment solutions to retailers, the company's study found that 18% of shoppers said they would buy more if they had more payment options, more shoppers (31%) would be more likely to buy goods if they could pay after they decided to keep it, and 22% are more likely to shop with a store that offers installment payments.
Common online shopping issues appear to drive much of the returns. Respondents to the Klarna report cited shoddy goods, ill-fitting products or products that look different in person than they do online as key factors driving returns, but the majority of them also indicated that better product descriptions and better fitting technology or sizing guides would lessen the need for returns.
Retailers that want to reduce pricey returns should make sure they're properly marketing their products and take a closer look at quality control measures, according to Klarna's report. While buyers want the convenience of online shopping, retailers who aren't investing in product quality and optimal return experience will lag behind those that master both.