The Great Returns Race: What are the most common shortfalls in returns?
Until recently, the trend has been slow for cross-border returns…“3 years down the track, returns is now a hot topic”. Managed returns company ReBOUND have unveiled a brand new study which is purely focused on return policies. ‘The Great Returns Race’ is a benchmark which ranks 144 of the UK’s top fashion brands to find out which brands are leading and which are lagging behind.
You can request a copy of the benchmark here, but if you’re wondering how you can shoot right to the top of the pack we asked ReBOUND to highlight the main reasons why even some of the best brands fell short. These are flagged in order of the areas which need the most attention…
1. Free Returns
There are always arguments for and against offering free returns because the retailer must bear the brunt of returned items, which can be costly. Therefore it’s no surprise that it is still a key area that needs more focus. However, we have already seen this trend emerging with a 3% increase in the number of brands offering free returns worldwide from the summer of 2015 to the end of Q1 2016. These brands tend to be for high-end luxury products.
2. Choice of Return Method
Although many retailers now offer multiple domestic return methods to customers in the UK, there is a significant shortage of choice offered to international customers, with only 23% of brands offering a choice of three or more ways to return.
3. Customised for Each Country
44% of brands did not customise their returns policies beyond the UK, which meant that they fell short in this category. In-country contact details or local addresses could be put in place to ensure brands move up the league tables in this section.
28% of brands played it too safe by only offering the compulsory 14 day return period and so did not score any extra points here. Three brands however stood out from the crowd with their generous propositions of 365 days.
5. Policy Reminder
Across the board, there are missed opportunities to promote the returns policy. We looked at 3 key touch-points throughout the customer purchase journey and found that 18% don’t advertise their returns policy at any of the product page, basket stage or checkout stage. Four brands however utilize all 3 of these steps.
6. Refund Promise
The dream refund promise would be instant refunds, but many are a long way off this as 11% do not even advertise a refund promise in their return policy! 22% advertise an uninspiring refund promise of 14 days plus. So the brands which begin to put more effort into decreasing this return to refund time will win back more points with disgruntled shoppers.
7. Ease of Navigation
This is the metric which overall needs less attention, as most brands have a decent route to their international return policy from their homepage consistently across mobile, desktop and tablet devices. The average number of moves is 3, but 10 brands did stand out for the wrong reasons with 5-6 moves.
Get all these factors spot on, and you are on to a winning formula! Graham Best, CEO at ReBOUND tells us “we’ve seen the returns landscape shift fairly rapidly since developing our global returns solution and so 3 years down the track, returns is now a hot topic.”
Download the Ultimate Guide to Management of Returns here or watch a video clip from Graham’s presentation at #NDC16 here: