UK shoppers abandon retailers that charge for returns

More than a quarter (26%) of Brits have switched from a brand they were once loyal to due to the introduction of paid returns, according to the latest research from SAP Emarsys, Duncan MacRae from Marketing Tech reports.

The study, released ahead of the Shoptalk retail tradeshow, reveals that 18% of UK consumers actively describe the introduction of returns charges as “unfair”; 13% have even thrown away an unwanted item after failing to return it.

With almost half (49%) of shoppers abandoned a brand they were once loyal to due to cost considerations, and with around a quarter (24%) keen to see retailers prioritise changes to return policies, a failure to meet expectations when it comes to the returns cycle has become a serious threat to customer loyalty.

As a result, retailers are rethinking. So far in 2023, 27% of retailers identify prioritising investment in their delivery processes. A third (33%) are also prioritising in more sustainable packaging.

Megan Hostetler, global senior product marketing manager, SAP Emarsys, said: “From discovery, to purchase, to shipping, to receipt both in-store and online, brands risk diminished reputations placing hurdles in front of their customers.

“It’s not enough to have the right product at the right price; complete transparency every step of the way, and solutions that reflect customer preference when problems do arise, are a must. Returns are a powerful opportunity for brands to build loyalty, both in terms of collecting data and gaining trust.

“Retail brands that get it right build higher customer lifetime value, receive fewer returns, and elevate that all-important customer experience; ultimately delivering on the promises made to customers is what drives true customer loyalty.

“With SAP supporting 95% of retail businesses globally, Emarsys is in a unique position to connect front and back office for customers like Puma, Savers, and Reformation.”

Words: Duncan MacRae | Published in Marketing Tech

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