Retailers missing out on millennial spend due to poor returns, finds ReBOUND

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New research, commissioned by returns management platform ReBOUND, has found that while British consumers are returning more goods than ever before, over a third (35%) claim that retailers do not make this process easy for them. In fact, 59% of millennials (consumers aged 18-35) surveyed admitted they have stopped shopping with a retailer because of a difficult or unclear returns process, double the number of those shoppers aged 65+.

The findings show that two fifths (42%) of millennials claim they return more goods now than they did two years ago, but half (50%) don’t feel that retailers invest enough in their returns policies overall.

This data reveals that the quality of a retailers’ returns process is becoming increasingly important for modern shoppers, especially those under 35. With millennial shoppers spending upwards of £164bn per year in the UK alone, the opportunity is huge.For ReBOUND, the responses demonstrate the need for retailers to focus on improving their returns experience, offering greater choice and streamlining the process from end to end.

Key findings from the survey, canvassing 1,000 people in the UK in January 2018, can be found below:

  • 42% of millennials return more items than they did two years ago

  • Overall, 90% of people say returns is important in their shopping decisions while 49% say it is very important

  • However, 35% don’t think retailers are doing enough to make returns easy

  • 60% of millennials and nearly half of overall correspondents (46%) said they have stopped shopping with a retailer because the returns process was hard or unclear

  • Part of the problem is that retailers are too quiet – one in ten (9%) received no communication about their returns at all

  • The other is that there are not enough options. 62% would use a courier service to return something if it was available to them

Graham Best, ReBOUND CEO, commented: “It’s clear that the role of returns in the shopping journey has never been more important, particularly for millennial consumers, yet retailers continue to ignore it.

“It’s essential that retailers take a long look at their services and iron out their customers’ returns pain points. Some elements like better communication are easily fixed but to really turn the dial, retailers need to give their returns lifecycle a full review and make it a boardroom priority.  We’ve seen brands like Asos create an amazing returns service, leading from the top with a dedicated Head of Returns which has undoubtedly paid off.

“2018 will see smart retailers and brands use returns to differentiate themselves in a competitive market.”

Ben Richardson, co-founder and marketing director at FreestyleXtreme, concluded: “For our business, having a solid returns process in place is a key differentiator. This focus has led to number of advantages for our business, including better customer retention, increased overall sales and more opportunities to develop our brand internationally.

“The findings of this research are a sure sign that consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to returns. Retailers need to wake up and smell the coffee. If they don’t innovate and pay closer attention to their returns lifecycle, they could lose their customers and stall growth in the long run.”