Consumers Ante Up: Most Are Willing To Pay To Make Returns

Most shoppers are willing to pay a small fee to obtain a convenient returns experience, according to Why Shoppers Expect And Are Willing To Pay For Premium Return Experiences, a study by Loop. 

Of those polled, 33% are very willing to pay and 37% are somewhat so. Moreover, 50% have already paid a fee.  

Those in the 28-40 age category are most willing: 72% are agreeable to pay to make a return, and 82% will pay a small fee for a more convenient experience. In contrast, only 16% of the 57-75 cohort would pay a fee to make a return. 

Younger generations are more likely to: 

- Always review a retailer’s return policy to gauge how sustainable their business is 

- Shop with a retailer that offers eco-friendly or sustainable return options 

- Purchase from retailers that clearly communicate the sustainability measures in their return process 



The top five return methods used by consumers in the last 12 months are:

  • Drop-off at UPS, FexEx or other shipping partner — 68% 
  • Return directly to a retailer’s storefront (e.g., order online or at AllBirds — 42% 
  • At-home pickup—36%
  • Return to another retailer’s storefront (e.g., taking an Amazon purchase to Whole Foods) — 34%
  • Return at an unattended locker (e.g., Amazon locker — 15%

But this depends on age. Consumers in the 18-24 range prefer dropoff at a shipping partner (69%), at-home product pickup (51%) and return to a retailer’s storefront (38%). 

People aged 25-40 prefer drop-off at shipping partner (67%), return directly to a retailer’s storefront (52%) and at-home pickup (44%). 

Those in the 41-56 category choose drop-off at shipping partner (66%), return directly to a retailer’s storefront (37%) and either at-home pickup (28%) or return to another retailer’s storefront (28%). 

The study argues that As it turns out, return policies themselves are powerful purchase incentives.

Of consumers, 98% of consumers agree —  and 74% agree strongly — that if a retailer provides “a fast, convenient and hassle-free return experience they’re more likely to shop with them again in the future.” 

Loop surveyed 1,000 US online shoppers in December 2022. 

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