Products

Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
Reports
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Forecasts
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Charts
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Briefings
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Methodology
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
Newsroom
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Events
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Podcasts
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

Out-of-the-box tips for cutting down on returns

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.

1. Peer-to-peer returns could reduce reverse logistics costs

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.

  • By partnering with third-party platforms like Frate, retailers can facilitate returns between consumers, issuing full or partial refunds for returned products and giving discounts to new customers who buy them.
  • This way, the original customer is happy because they got a refund and got rid of their item, a new customer is able to try a product at a lower cost, and the retailer doesn’t have to deal with any of the logistics in between.

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.

2. Impulse shopping could lead to higher return rates

We’ve written before about how brands can encourage impulse purchases from shoppers in-store and online, but there may be a downside to leveraging consumers’ impulsive behavior.

If consumers make a purchase without fully considering it, they could end up regretting the decision and return the product.

  • 58% of Gen Zers, 55% of millennials, and 56% of Gen Xers regret at least one impulse purchase they made after seeing a product on social media, per an August 2023 survey from Bankrate and YouGov.
  • That number rises to 62% for baby boomers.

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.