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27 January 2022
Online shopping return process needs to improve
Direct to consumerE-commerce & mobile retailCustomer experience
Online shopping has surged during the pandemic, and while direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have benefited, new research suggests their returns process is an area that many need to address.
Why it matters
The administrative and logistical costs of returns are huge – £7bn a year on one estimate – even without factoring in the carbon footprint. But the returns experience is problematic in other ways that don’t reflect well on brands. DTC brands, especially, ought to be better geared up to deal with returns.
What’s going wrong?
A study conducted by parcelLab, an operations experience management business, placed test orders with 50 of the UK’s largest DTC brands and found that:
Four in ten (43%) ignored their customer during the returns process.
Only 30% notified the customer that the order had arrived back at their fulfilment centre following the customer’s return.
The return process took on average 14 days, with the longest stretching to 33 days.
A third of orders required the customer to contact the business and enquire about the whereabouts of the refund.
55% of the retailers involved did not promote paperless returns – a simple step to help reduce waste.
“The returns experience is still an unnecessarily lengthy and infuriating process and an area retailers must strive to improve” – Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and CEO of parcelLab.