Is Asos planning same-day returns for Christmas season?
Consumers could see faster turnaround of their Christmas fashion shopping as the festive season moves into high gear with reports that e-tail giant Asos is looking at offering same-day returns.
As well as being extra appealing to consumers, that could also be crucial for the e-tailer itself as it means unwanted goods would be back on its virtual shelves much faster.
Fuss-free returns are a key aim for online and omnichannel retailers and could help to boost conversion rates, which still lag behind those seen in physical stores. The faster and easier it is for shoppers to get their products and, if necessary, send them back, the likelier they are to order more goods, more often.
The Telegraph reported figures from retail logistics firm Stuart saying the average online shopper has unwanted goods that haven’t yet been returned worth £66 at any given time. That adds up to over £3 billion for all UK shoppers.
The newspaper also said that Asos is one of several UK retailers looking at same-day returns but could be the first to put it into operation. However, the e-tailer wouldn’t comment on its plans. Nike is also believed to be looking at the option.
Asos has also recently launched its Instant delivery service that offers same-day evening delivery on Sunday through Friday for £12.95. But while faster delivery has been a focus, returns remain a big issue for many e-tailers selling lower-priced fashion.
Returns via the Post Office, which place the emphasis on consumers taking action, are themes popular returns option but are unpopular with customers. While returns options have become more flexible in recent periods with services such as Collect Plus or click-and-collect expanding, they’re still not necessarily that fast when it comes to getting the customer’s money back into their account. Same-day returns could help address that issue and could be a deciding factor when a shopper is wondering whether to buy from one site or another.
But, as mentioned earlier, faster returns aren’t only about consumer convenience. If shoppers can be encouraged to not push their returns to the end of the full 14 or 30-day allowed period and to decide on what they want to keep straight away, it will mean more goods available on both physical store and virtual shelves.
Analysts said that last year’s Black Friday promotional period had a negative impact on shopping later in the season as consumers hung onto products. For omnichannel retailers, that meant that goods were still stuck in warehouses rather than being available in-store as the Holiday season wore on and as the late December and January clearance period started.
The Telegraph said that analysis from clear Returns showed the e-shopping boom and slow returns last year meant that up to 20% of goods that could have been on store shelves were held up elsewhere.
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