Unhappy Returns? Policies Influence Where Consumers Spend Money

Returns cost brands and retailers billions of dollars. Some 60% of retailers plan to change returns policies because of rising costs and volume being returned to stores, and 67% plan to charge additional shipping or restocking fees, according to a recent report

Return rates will rise as sales volumes increase, particularly for ecommerce, with 65% of retailers anticipating higher returns this year, according to those participating in a goTRG’s survey of 500 retailers.

A survey conducted by Pitney Bowes earlier this year of digital and omnichannel brands found online returns cost retailers an average 21% of order value, with several brands reporting ratios considerably higher. Findings from the study, published in April 2022, also found 70% of retailers are actively trying to lower the cost of returns by addressing transportation and/or processing costs, but the goal is complicated by shared accountability for returns.



Higher return prices for consumers could mean they will simply go somewhere else to make the purchase, but 53% of the 1,320 online shoppers participating in the parcelLab survey indicated they are not willing to pay to return an online order and feel the retailer should cover the cost.

ParcelLab also surveyed 500 retail professionals across the U.S. to understand the industry’s outlook and strategies leading into the 2022–2023 holiday season.

According to parcelLab, 55% of consumers now check the brand’s and the retailer’s returns policy before making an online purchase, and 62% said they are unlikely to shop again at the brand or retailer with a poor or inconvenient return process.

Some 37% of consumers say returns that include shipping fees as part of the returns process might lead them to want to shop less with the brand or the retailer.

About 36% cited restocking fees, 21% pointed to poor or bad communication around the returns policy, 18% said refunds that take longer than 14 days, and 14% cited a return period less than 30-days from the day or purchase.

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