Consumers demand easy returns for fashion - survey

A new survey looking at returns in the UK shows a country where almost a third of consumers describe themselves as serial returners but a huge number of people are actually too lazy to take or send unwanted goods back to stores.

UK e-shoppers want easy returns policies

In fact, 59% of shoppers admitted they’ve been too lazy to take something back, although in general, 55% will return a product as soon as possible if they aren’t happy, and 32% characterise themselves as serial returners. Some 27% even said they’ve worn an item before taking it back.

The figures come from and focus most closely on fashion. The company spoke to almost 1,500 consumers following recent news stories about retailers (including Asos) tightening returns policies due to issues with serial returners.

Regardless of consumer behaviour around individual returns, a retailer’s returns policy does really matter and 86% check the returns section of a site before purchasing. That’s a significant fact as a generous (and easy) returns policy could make or break a sale.

Despite the large number of shoppers who abuse returns policies, most are genuine and the most common reason why consumers don’t keep a fashion item is because it “doesn’t fit/suit me” (77%). This is followed by reasons like it’s “damaged/faulty” (a rather large 14%), the shopper is “displeased with customer service” (5%) and simply “want the money back” (5%).

As mentioned above, most people return items promptly (after all, that means they get their money back quickly too), although 14% of people wait up to a week and 5% leave it until the period in which they’re able to get a refund is almost at an end. That’s a huge problem for retailers given the likelihood that the item may already be on markdown and will be harder to sell again.

When it comes some retailers’ new and stricter policies, OnBuy discovered 73% of Britons will think twice about purchasing in the future because they’re fearful of being blacklisted and don’t want to face any extra hassle. 

Consumers also said that what what they want from a delivery/returns policy is for the process to be “hassle-free” (86%), to include “free shipping” (68%), and the necessary returns packaging to be provided by the retailer (50%). A further 27% of shoppers added they would prefer “no limits on returns”, while 18% desire a “no questions asked” policy.

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