Retailers have teased and rolled out online deals for days, even weeks, but the real Black Friday is here.
Buyers say they are unlikely to shop again if they must pay for returns.
Many online shoppers check a retailer’s return shipping policy before making a purchase, and many will refuse to shop again on sites where they must pay for return shipping, according to new studies released this week.
93% of online retailers, however, still charge for return shipping; more than 30% fail to provide detailed information on their return shipping policy on their web sites; and only 25% include a return shipping label in delivered packages, according to Innotrac Corp.’s SmartHub benchmarking study released this week. The SmartHub study is based on a survey of more than 100 merchants in August 2012.
Lack of a generous and easy-to-use return shipping policy, however, could keep many online shoppers from coming back to shop more, according to a survey this month of more than 2,800 online consumers conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of ShopRunner, a provider of online shipping and loyalty programs to retailers. That study found that 81% of online shoppers say they are less likely to make additional purchases on sites that charge for return shipping. In addition, 69% of online shoppers describe return shipping as a complicated process.
ShopRunner also cites a September 2012 study from Washington and Lee University, which tracked consumer spending over a four-year period. That study found that customers who have paid for return shipping at a particular retailer went on to decrease their spending at that merchant by 75% to 100% within two years. In contrast, the same study found that consumers who took advantage of free return shipping at a retailer went on to increase their spending at such a merchant by 158% to 457% within two years.
The Innotrac SmartHub study also found:
● For consumers to get credit for returned merchandise, 17.24% of retailers allow a return window of 1-5 days; 42.53%, 6-10 days; 21.84%, 11-15 days; 4.60%, 16-20 days; 11.49%, 21 days or more; and 2.30%, no returns are accepted.
● 8.79% of retailers required shoppers to request via phone, e-mail or on a web site a return merchandise authorization number.