Ease of return key to unlocking online revenue

– 95% of consumers more likely to buy online if they know returns are hassle free – and almost a third hate repacking goods
– Almost three quarters of consumers view postal packaging as key to customer experience

Almost 95% of consumers are more likely to buy online if they know they can return purchases easily, according to a study by packaging company Duo UK, which counts high profile retailers including ASOS, Boohoo.com and F+F Clothing at Tesco among its clients. The finding comes as figures from Credit Suisse reveal just how important returns are for customers: the banking group estimates that 40% of clothing purchased online over the festive period is likely to be returned, even higher than the usual 30% return rate quoted by analysts Javelin.

Duo’s research, which also revealed that almost three quarters of consumers view the packaging goods arrive in as integral to the shopping experience, went on to examine what was the most irritating part of the returns process for consumers. It found that although 56% of respondents identified visiting the post office, a significant minority – 30% – said repackaging goods was the most hassle.
Repacking goods was a particular irritant among men and younger consumers, with 35% of men and almost 46% of 18-25 year olds saying it was the single most annoying part of the returns process, while women disliked visiting the post office the most.

Managing director of Duo UK, David Brimelow commented: “While returns can be inconvenient for consumers they can also be a real headache for retailers in terms of logistics. From a retailer’s point of view it’s very difficult to control a customer’s experience at the post office or parcel drop point, but it’s far easier to provide reusable packing that makes returning goods safely and securely hassle free.

“As well as helping to appease the 30% of consumers who name repacking goods as their number one bug bear, the demographic variation shows that this is particularly important for those retailers targeting younger adults or men. As well as improving the customer experience, good packaging also reduces damages and makes reprocessing goods ready for re-sale more streamlined and therefore cost effective.”
The extent of the impact packaging has on consumers is further underlined by the finding that half of individuals questioned said they’d be more likely to return goods if the outer packaging was poor quality or damaged. Poor quality packaging also impacted on consumers’ longer term view of a brand; a third of respondents said they’d view a company with poor quality or damaged packaging as unprofessional, over 20% would be less likely to place a second order and 12% of consumers would assume the goods received were poor quality.

F+F‘s head of online marketing, Jillian Lidgate, commented: “This study by Duo corresponds broadly with our own experience – we know postal packaging has a real influence on our customers’ perception of our brand. We’ve worked with Duo to develop a new range of postal packaging that mirrors current fashion trends and ties in with our seasonal collections. The first physical contact a consumer has with F&F is often when their package arrives in the post and we want our customers to be delighted.”

David continued: “In the case of F+F where consumers may be making multichannel purchases, eg by visiting a shop before later making a purchase online, it’s clear that consumers expect their in-store experience to continue once they’ve parted with their cash and their goods have arrived. Meanwhile, in the case of online only retailers, the packaging is the only physical interaction the consumer has with the brand, so it’s vital to make it a good experience.”

For further information on Duo products and services visit www.duo-uk.co.uk or phone 0161 203 5767.


* IMB Digital Analytics Benchmark, December 2012
** British Retail Consortium , Vacancies Monitor, November 2012
*** New Media Trend Watch, European Travel Commission, December 2012

For further media information contact Kate Mathews, Victoria Bartram or Sophie Turner at Lucre on 0113 2431117 or email [email protected].