More than 80% of customers would abandon a retailer over bad returns, research reveals

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In a survey conducted by the delivery software company Sorted, 81% of customers reported that they would write off a retailer if they experienced problems with the returns process.

The survey of 2,000 UK respondents found that those companies with strong returns processes in place will see a return on investment, with 61% of respondents saying they would be more likely to exchange a product bought online than get a refund if exchanging were made simpler. Twenty-nine percent of consumers surveyed claim to have had an unsatisfactory returns experience in the last 12 months.

The data also revealed that 44% of respondents would not reorder from an online retailer if they experienced issues with their returns process, and 36% would be reluctant to reorder from retailers that fail to provide clear returns details. Furthermore, 89% of consumers identified ease of returns as a top priority when purchasing online. Sorted therefore concluded that retailers who get the returns process right will reap the most consumer loyalty.

The research also revealed a demand for proactive communications, with 77% saying that getting timely updates on the progress of their return, refund or exchange would make them more likely to purchase from that retailer again. A quick and simple refund process and the ability to return via a local shop or another convenient location were both also revealed as crucial for customers. Respondents also said they are more likely to be lenient with smaller retailers when it comes to returns. Alternatively, more than nine in 10 believe it is important for large corporate retailers to have a seamless returns process (94%).

Carmen Carey, CEO of Sorted, said, “In the aftermath of the Christmas peak, retailers are going to be dealing with an influx of returns. However, at every opportunity, a refund could become an exchange. Those who fail to offer quick and convenient e-commerce experiences will no doubt suffer in this competitive landscape. Retailers must learn that they can’t simply stop the brand experience the very moment an order reaches the customer’s door but must ensure a seamless process is carried right through the customer journey. With returns now a major point of differentiation for brands, retailers – big and small – must invest in the full post-purchase journey in order to both attract and retain the modern customer.”

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As the latest addition to the UKi Media & Events team, Elizabeth brings research skills from her English degree to her keen interest in the meteorological and transportation industries. Having taken the lead in student and startup publications, she has gained experience in editing online and print titles on a wide variety of topics. In her current role as Editorial Assistant, Elizabeth will create new and topical content on the pioneering technologies in transportation, logistics and meteorology.

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