In these post-pandemic times, digitalization is essential for retailers as consumers’ demand for online shopping grows. This transition from in-store to online brings many opportunities for business growth, especially if you run an SME, but it also requires a good look into consumer trends, like free returns.
It’s competitive out there, so to succeed, online retailers must focus on what the customer wants. And when it comes to shopping, there’s one thing that consumers want: free returns.
Over 68% of consumers state that free returns are the most valuable aspect of an online retailer.
According to a study by Rebound, more than 68% of consumers stated that free returns are the most valuable aspect of an online retailer. The study also revealed that most consumers would choose a different store if a shop didn’t offer complimentary returns.
Majority of consumers would choose a different store if a store didn’t offer complimentary returns.
If these statistics aren’t enough to convince your business to provide free returns, here are three more reasons (in order of importance):
1 | More Trust
With so many fake products, online scams, and poor-quality products circulating the web, trustworthy retailers are hard to find. For first-time shoppers, an online store that offers free returns provides a safety net, should the product not meet expectations. Because they are expensive for a business, offering free returns is the shop’s way of showcasing confidence in its products. Immediately, there is more trust, and with trust comes a willingness to spend.
2 | Higher Spend
More leniency in the return period, coupled with a free return service, often results in a higher spend from the consumer (according to this Washington Post article). Some businesses even follow a model that provides free returns above a minimum spend. In theory, this is great, but if all of the products are returned, it can get expensive for the business to cover. If you’re going to offer free returns on higher spends, it’s vital that you provide detailed information on products. For instance, fashion retailers should give measurements of each item or offer a digital try-on system.
More leniency in the return period, coupled with a free return service, often results in a higher spend from the consumer.
3 | Loyal Customer Base
Once buyers have had a good experience with an online retailer, especially if their return system is efficient (and free), it’s more likely that they will come back to your shop. A loyal customer base is priceless, providing a business with purchases, word-of-mouth advertising, and support.
To run a successful SME in a digital world, you need to provide free returns on your products. A system that allows your customers to send anything back within a lenient timeframe, will build trust, encourage a higher spend, and build a loyal customer base. It’s important, however, to ensure that you follow a strict set of guidelines to avoid exploitation.