Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Shoppers are leaving brands due to paid returns

The introduction of paid returns is turning customers away from brands they were once loyal to, forcing retailers to rethink, according to research from SAP Emarsys.

The study found that 26% of UK adults have switched from a brand that introduced returns charges. Meanwhile, 18% of consumers describe the introduction of charges as being “unfair”, and 13% have gone as far as throwing away unwanted items after failing to return them.

As concerning for retailers, 49% of shoppers have already left a brand they were once loyal to over cost considerations, and 24% are keen to see retailers prioritise changes to return policies.

Importantly, some retailers have taken onboard consumer concerns and are making the changes their customers demand. More than a quarter (27%) of retailers identify prioritising investment in their delivery process, while 33% are prioritising the introduction of more sustainable packaging.

“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,” said Megan Hostetler, Global Senior Product Marketing Manager at SAP Emarsys.

“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.”