26 June 2020

Improving Customer Experience Through Omni-Channel Returns

 

Source: Karolina Grabowska, www.pexels.com

 

How customers experience the returns process defines their overall impression of a brand and informs their decision to return to that retailer in the future. One particular aspect of the returns process that influences customer experience is the return gateways offered by retailers; the methods available for customers to return their unwanted items.

Convenience, variety and ease-of-use is desirable for the modern consumer. By incorporating these aspects into the process, retailers can optimize their returns solution and secure a positive experience for customers. 

Read on to discover how and why it is important to offer your customers a great experience through a variety of different return gateways. 

 

Convenience and Consumer Loyalty 

Studies have shown that consumers look for convenience over many other factors when it comes to choosing and returning to shop at certain retailers. This is especially true for Millennial and Gen Z shoppers who expect this as the norm. For the consumer, returns must feel as easy and seamless as making a purchase online. 

Convenience is secured when the returns process is able to fit smoothly into the consumer’s daily life. For example, return labels provided in the box, free-of-charge by the retailer, make it quick and easy to package and prepare an item to be returned.  

Options such as online portals, return in-store, local drop-off locations or parcel lockers are also convenient for shoppers – enabling them to send in returns from a location that is easily accessible in their day-to-day life. Studies show that over 70% of consumers admit that the overall sales and returns experience largely affects their decision to buy again from a brand. This is therefore a motivation for retailers to offer the return gateways that are most likely to secure a positive experience for their customers.  

 

Appealing to New Audiences 

 

Retailers are also offered the opportunity to diversify their audience through multi-channel returns. Various consumer demographics provide the need for a range of return gateways. By offering a number of different ways for consumers to easily return unwanted items, retailers have the chance to reach out and connect with a wider consumer base. Plus, new potential returning customers.  

 

'Try Before You Buy’ Culture  

 

Online shopping and the promise of free or easy returns often encourages different behaviors from consumers than in-store shopping. For example, shoppers are more tempted to buy a variety of sizes or products they aren’t 100% certain about. The rise of this ‘try before you buy’ culture is only becoming more apparent as online shopping continues to dominate retail. 

Making returns easy and accessible through a diverse range of channels encourages consumers to return unwanted products sooner. This will allow the returned stock to be re-directed quickly to where it’s value can be most recaptured.