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I was recently involved in an online discussion (ecomchat) which started when the question was asked "how important is delivery, shipping & returns for retailers?".
I responded with a home truth based on all the 100's of hours of user research that we have conducted/are continually conducting for multichannel retailers.
When a user/consumer has a choice of retailer from which to buy the product they are looking for, after price then it is almost always delivery options, delivery costs and then the returns proposition that are the three most important factors which influence buyer behaviour.
Retail giant Nordstrom competes against other luxury brands like Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue. It sells Citizens of Humanity jeans ($238), leather Prada men’s sneakers ($420), and Jimmy Choo clutches ($620). It does not sell tires.
So, why would it take the rubber discs from a customer insistent on returning them?
Digital tools now reach across companies (from sales to support) and across the entire customer experience. This span is making running digital channels as silos increasingly costly and difficult to scale.
Organizations that seek to rationalize operations, use data effectively, and personalize smart experiences for clients need alignment around a digital experience plan.
This is the first of a series of posts on why digital experience planning has become a strategic priority of a growing tribe of digital leaders.
Despite the ecommerce industry booming, retailers need to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls of an environment where consumers are unable to touch, feel or try on new items before they buy.
This, coupled with the 'cooling off period’ means return rates are much higher for online retailers than they are for their bricks and mortar counterparts.
Here are some tips for online retailers, which should help them to think and act smarter with their returns policies...
As Christmas gets closer we can expect to see a wealth of e-commerce stats being added to our Internet Statistics Compendium.
This month, there has been some interesting data concerning what online retailers think about the importance of returning customers and some juicy trends highlighting the real worth of shoppers who come back for more compared to first time buyers.
Returns are an issue for every retailer, and some sectors more than others.
They could be viewed as bothersome, but the returns process does offer an opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service and can have a positive impact of future retention rates, if done well.
There is much you can do to reduce returns rates, providing better imagery and information on product pages, but even the best site will experience returns.
So then it comes down to how you handle the returns process, and the better you handle this, the better your retention rates.
Here are 14 tips to help you to avoid annoying your customers...
Email is the preferred contact channel for 44% of consumers, yet just 33% find it to be the most effective, according to a new Econsultancy survey.
The multichannel customer service survey, conducted using Toluna, surveyed 2,000 UK consumers on their attitudes to various contact channels.
Some highlights from the survey after the jump...
While retailers have improved in areas such as refunding delivery charges, there is still room for more flexibility and simplicity in returns policies.
For example, 52% of retailers studied didn't offer any choice of return methods, while 9% of refunds took more than 14 days to arrive.
These are a few of the findings from the Snow Valley 2011 Online Returns & Refunds report...
With the increasingly homogenous offer of online retailers, it is generally agreed that high levels of customer service are more vital than ever.
With this in mind, I'm constantly astounded by the shockingly poor levels of service British consumers are exposed to.
With record online spending expected this Christmas, retailers have a great opportunity to acquire and retain new customers.
If customers have an excellent experience through purchase to delivery (and beyond if they need to return items), then they are more likely to return to make future purchases.
I've listed ten things for retailers to avoid once a customer has made a purchase online...
Even if a customer has had an excellent experience with a retailer through the buying and delivery process, returns is one area where things can go wrong.
Making the returns process easy and free for customers is one way to ensure they retain a positive impression of a retailer, even if the product wasn't suitable for them. This makes is more likely that they will return and make purchases in future.
Charging for returns is one sure-fire way to annoy customers and deter them from future purchase, so I've been looking at etailers' returns policies to see which ones are doing this...