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The return period after the holidays: how can marketers get the most out of it

 

 

The drawbacks of a beautiful holiday season of retail ? The after season returns in full swing. United Parcel Service (UPS) expects to process 1.3 million returns on January 3 alone.

E-commerce is fueling the growth of order returns. Overall, US retailers' revenues are estimated at costing retailers $ 550 billion by 2020, an increase of 75.2% from four years earlier. Returns on e-commerce have increased from 94.8% between 2012 and 2017.

Practical returns have become an issue at the table

"15 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent can reduce retailers' profit margins during the holidays," Ed Kennedy Senior Director of Commerce at Episerver, Content Technology Provider and content. "But consumers have come to expect and even demand generous return policies.Many consumers are knowingly buying more than they intend to keep with the understanding of retailers like Amazon and others have set the bar very high for return policies and have even made it a loyalty experience in the case of Amazon Prime and Amazon Local return stores. "

" The mei Their means for online retailers to ensure that customers' experience of the most transparent returns possible is to make the process as simple and streamlined as possible, whether with pre-printed shipping labels, a clear policy or the possibility to return home or shared packages ", Scott Webb president of Avionos, a digital commerce and marketing consulting firm," For example, Amazon allows buyers to deposit their packages in physical outlets and lockers, meet them at the points of contact that suit them best and save time and money to print new labels and buy stamps and cartons. "

Episerver & # 39 Kennedy also suggested that retailers reduce the cost of returns by encouraging consumers to consolidate their orders into a single shipment.

"Retailers can reduce the risk of shipping cost-cutting margins by offering more generous promotions for orders that can be combined into a single shipment during the initial order," Kennedy said. . "This can reduce initial shipping costs and even generate a small profit for retailers who charge shipping costs to cover the risk of return shipping charges."

Reduce friction, synthesize offers on all channels

Online and offline experiments should work together, said Darin Archer director of marketing e-commerce software solutions provider, Elastic Path.

"If a consumer bought In store, there is often no real way to initiate a return online, as the two systems do not have a clear picture of a single consumer," he said. Archer. "While some retailers have understood the reverse – store returns of products purchased on an ecommerce site – without a unified customer image, the e-commerce return process will still generate friction."

Episerver & # 39; s Kennedy agrees. "An advantage of physical retailers in brick and mortar compared to online retailers only is their physical location.To improve this route, retailers must provide the kind of integrated and convenient experiences that encourage customers to shop across all channels and make future purchases Similar to how BOPIS (buy online, pick up r in-store) helped retailers fill the gap online / in-store, the ability to buy online, then pick up and make store returns becomes a must. "

Messaging on offline and online shoppers should also be better connected, said Archer.

" On the Black Friday weekend, I heard two once a buyer say, "I see online that there is a promotion" do not give me here, how can I get it? "or" I've bought this online, but you see now that you have a better price in store, can I come back and buy back? "said Archer.

Smooth returns can increase customer retention

Customers remember bad experiences, Webb said. The report by Avionos on consumer expectations in 2018 (PDF) reveals that 53% of consumers are more confident in an online purchase decision if the retailer offers a user-friendly return policy.

not as faithful to the marks as before. So, if they have negative feedbacks, they are more likely to turn to another retailer who can provide them with the options that meet their needs, "Webb said, suggesting that retailers set up operational logistics to ship quickly products. clear throughout the process.

"It is inexpensive to offer the convenience of a simple return to shopping."

About the Author

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Robin Kurzer began his career as a reporter at a newspaper in Milford, Connecticut. She then made her mark in the world of advertising and marketing in Chicago in agencies such as Tribal DDB and Razorfish, creating award-winning works for many major brands. For the past seven years, she has worked as an independent writer and as a communications professional in a variety of industries.