Many Happy Returns: Ecommerce Brands Brace For Jan. 2

Happy National Returns Day. That what UPS calls Jan. 2, the day when 1.9 billion returns are expected to be made to ecommerce brands, according to a new report by online payment firm Splitit.

Even before that, consumers were forecast to return 1 billion purchases per day in December.

Of over 500 U.S. consumers polled, 60% have returned an online purchase, with 12% doing so within the past month and 18% in the past year. Worse yet, 38% have returned up to 10% of all online purchases they have made.

And 52% have abandoned an online purchase because they feared a difficult return process -- a figure that leaps to 67% among millennials.

Not that process is the only consideration: In a practice called bracketing, 48% of consumers have purchased multiple versions of a product simply so they can return the ones they don’t want.

Here’s what consumers see as the most important elements a return policy:

- Free shipping — 39%



- No questions asked — 30%

Whatever the factors might be, 10% were dissatisfied with their last return experience. 

“Whether it’s a fear of buyer’s remorse or uncertainty about fit, our research shows that, today, returns are a top consideration for consumers even before their purchase is completed,”states Brad Paterson, CEO of Splitit.

These findings largely mirror those revealed in a recent study by Narvar. In that global poll, repeat customers rated their last return as easy, an 29% as okay. Only 6% described them as difficult.

In contrast, 45% of new customers described their last return as easy, while 35% described it as okay and 20% described it as difficult. 

Email is an important part of the process. In the U.S. and UK, 35% of consumers expect to see the return policy in an email.

This finding spells opportunity for brands with solid transactional email programs in place. They can upsell, cross-sell and achieve many of the things they can with cart abandonment emails.



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