Returns of online purchases tipped to increase by 80% today, says Royal Mail

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On Wednesday 2 January 2019 – Takeback Wednesday – returns of online purchases are predicted to increase by 80 per cent compared to the average number of return parcels per day in December, according to Royal Mail. Takeback Wednesday is the day that most Brits will return their unwanted and ill-fitting Christmas presents. With global reach and the leading enabler of e-commerce in the UK, Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry.

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, six in ten (60 per cent) online shoppers will not use a retailer again if they have a difficult returns experience so it’s important to get it right!

Clothing (75 per cent), electrical goods (42 per cent) and computer software/hardware (33 per cent) are the most commonly returned items. The study, part of Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters report, reveals women are more likely to return something because the item is not what they expected. Men are more likely to return a non-clothing item because it’s incompatible or not useful for its intended purpose.

The average online shopper in the UK sends back an online purchase every month*. Over half (53 per cent) of those that return clothing or footwear said the most common reason to return is because the item didn’t fit or was the wrong size.

Try before you buy

One in three (34 per cent) of those that return items have used ‘try before you buy’ services. 18-34 year old shoppers (49 per cent) are more likely to use a service like this if it was available.

Clothing (52 per cent) and footwear (39 per cent) are the categories people are most likely to use this service for, followed by electrical goods (39 per cent).

Two in five shoppers (40 per cent) believe they would purchase more items if a retailer offered a ‘try before you buy service’.

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said “January is the busiest time of year for returns. Having an easy way to return online purchases is a crucial part of the online shopping experience. For retailers, ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is incredibly important. With 17 per cent of global retailers already adopting a ‘try before you buy’ model, it’s important to consider putting try before you buy at the heart of your returns offering – and staying one step ahead of your competitors when it comes to customer satisfaction.”