Retailers, Brands Have A Growing Problem In Search, Shopping Ads

Not all images in Google Shopping ads or online at retail Web sites look exactly like the physical product. Sometimes the descriptions are a bit off, omitting the complete truth about the material used to make the items. Python-print material vs. Python material makes a huge difference to consumers looking for the real deal, for instance. It happened once to me at Michael Kors during the time Neiman Marcus ran its Web site. The missing word "print" didn't appear in the description, and there was no mention that merchants and manufacturers can't ship Python to California.

Since I make most purchases online, shipping fees and returns have become part of the experience. I don't pay to have anything shipped. If the merchant won't send it for free, I don't buy it. The return process must be as easy. A recent study shows I'm not the only consumer who thinks this way. More than 60% of U.S. consumers said they would stop shopping at a retailer after a poor gift return experience, per a study from LoyaltyOne.



Nearly eight out of 10 -- 79.3% -- of consumers participating in the LoyaltyOne survey said a positive experience returning a gift to a store that they rarely visit would motivate them to shop more often at that store, and 83.3% said they would share information about a positive gift return experience with friends and family.

The survey results are based on a Jan. 21, 2015 online Google Consumer Survey featuring 1,207 responses.

It turns out that an even greater number of shoppers -- 86.9% -- say they would share a negative return experience with friends and family, providing additional evidence that the customer relationship is on the line.

After the holidays, more men indicate they have had a poor experience returning a gift to a retailer compared with women, 45.1% vs. 31.7%, respectively. About 55.5% of millennials, ages 18 to 24, said they are stressed by the gift return experience, significantly above the rate of the general population at 50.9%.

Some 57.9% of women say they are stressed by the gift return experience after the holidays, up from 50.9% for the general population. Per region, 54.9% of Northeasterners said they are stressed by the gift return experience, scoring higher for stress than respondents from the Midwest, South and West.

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