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New research from ZigZag Global estimates that retailers in the UK could miss out on £19 billion worth of business if their returns policy is not up to scratch. The company found that an online retail returns policy is important to 68% of UK shoppers when it comes to whether or not they make a purchase.

Over three quarters (76%) of UK shoppers now check the returns policy before making a purchase. Furthermore, almost 8 in 10 (78%) say retailers should make it easy for you to return goods – rising to 85% amongst 18–25-year-olds.

The survey showed the impact of easy returns on customer loyalty, with 82% agreeing that an easy returns experience would encourage them to shop with a retailer again.

However, a poor return for 62% of UK shoppers means they would not shop with that retailer again.

According to UK shoppers, a good returns policy should:

  • Be free of charge (75%)
  • Provide a fast refund (63%)
  • Provide multiple options for returns (45%)
  • Be paperless and trackable throughout (43%)

Currently, a quarter (26%) of UK shoppers say they find the returns experience frustrating at most retailers and 36% agree that it’s an inconvenience.

“Returns have been a contentious issue for retailers for many years. It is not enough to simply offer free returns. It is just as important that the hurdles of retail returns be removed, as an easy and efficient returns process could make all the difference when making a sale.”  says Al Gerrie, Founder and CEO of ZigZag Global.

ZigZag found that almost half of UK shoppers (47%) now consider themselves a ‘regular returner’ – rising significantly to 67% amongst 18–25-year-olds. Interestingly, almost one in five shoppers (18%) does consider the cost of high returns to retailers, but it doesn’t impact how much they return. A third of respondents (33%) said they don’t factor the cost in at all.

Retailers also find themselves in a frustrating catch-22. As 38% of UK shoppers said they would return less if a retailer charged for returns. Yet, as ZigZag has found, charging for returns will also discourage them from the initial purchase.

Al added: “Though the frequency and value of returns is on the rise, this doesn’t have to cost the retailer a sale. Retailers now have a wealth of options to recoup the loss of one sale and encourage customer loyalty and repeat purchase. Whether that be by offering refunds to the retailer’s digital gift card, live exchanges, or recommerce opportunities, retailers can turn small losses into large gains in the long run”.

 

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