Returns are a challenge, especially following the busy holiday purchasing season. It’s not a problem that’s going away—total retail return value in the US will grow 2.0% this year to reach $931.85 billion, per our November 2023 forecast, and will continue growing at a faster rate through the end of our forecast period in 2027.
To help keep return volumes down, retailers are trying everything from implementing return fees to ensuring product descriptions are as accurate and detailed as possible. But there are still a couple of out-of-the-box solutions that they could try.
Here are two of our suggestions.
In addition to doling out refunds for returned products, retailers are responsible for the reverse logistics costs associated with returns, which can quickly add up.
To combat this, retailers like Amazon and Wayfair have begun instituting a “keep it” policy, telling customers to keep their returns instead of having to pay the costs associated with shipping them back to the warehouse.
But peer-to-peer returns are another way to cut down on shipping costs while also saving the customer from having to get rid of an unwanted product.
The bottom line: Peer-to-peer returns won’t make up for all costs associated with returns, but it could help foster customer satisfaction and loyalty, and potentially boost sales down the line.
If consumers make a purchase without fully considering it, they could end up regretting the decision and return the product.
These aren’t necessarily small purchases either. Over a quarter (26%) of US adults estimate the amount they’ve spent on impulse purchases inspired by social media totals over $500, per the same Bankrate/YouGov survey.
The bottom line: Candy bar-makers need not worry—consumers are not going to return their unwanted treats. But brands that sell goods at higher prices, particularly those on social media, may want to consider how impulse purchases could add to their returns headache.
This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.
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