December 16, 2003, 12:00 AM

A new survey underscores the importance of easy returns

A survey by Harris Interactive shows that consumers feel a convenient return policy is important to their purchase decision. 95% said they are very likely or somewhat likely to shop with an online merchant again if the return process is convenient.

How important to online retailing is a convenient merchandise-return policy? Very, says a new survey from Harris Interactive, sponsored by reverse logistics provider Newgistics Inc.

In a survey that Harris Interactive conducted three weeks ago, 90% of consumers said a convenient return policy and process are important to their purchase decision. And a full 95% said they are very likely or somewhat likely to shop with an online merchant again if the return process is convenient. 85% said they are not likely to shop with an online merchant if the return policy is inconvenient.

In addition, the survey underscores the importance of customer-friendly returns to online shopping in general. 81% said they take the prospect of making a return into consideration when they choose to shop direct.

The survey showed that 35% of consumers shop online and 39% from a catalog.

Newgistics provides returns processing services, including its SmartLabel product which involves an addressed, postage-paid label that allows customers to drop a returns package into the U.S. Postal Service system and be billed by the retailer for the return postage. The service also provides alerts to retailers and e-mails to customers when the returned products are received at Newgistics’ facilities.

 

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