2022 was a wild year for ecommerce, and according to leading industry reports, 2023 is set to get even more interesting. Here at Loop, we wanted to dig deeper, to see what impact returns had on larger ecommerce trends for 2023 and beyond. What we found is pretty surprising—and encouraging.
Because we want our merchants (and all of the shops we love) to succeed—we’ve synthesized our findings about how your shoppers feel about returns, what the actual costs of handling reverse logistics are (and how to mitigate them), and what your brand stands to gain from giving your returns strategy some TLC this year.
Shoppers care about returns, even before they purchase
What we found is that it’s not just us that care about returns: your shoppers care about your returns policies, too. In fact, nearly all consumers surveyed (96%) regularly review retailers’ return policies before making an online purchase. That means that if you don’t have a thought-out plan for your returns, you might be losing out on new customers, and dissuading existing shoppers from buying from you again. To that point, the majority (57%) of consumers have stopped purchasing from a particular retailer after a bad return experience.
Returns are a vital part of the overall shopper experience. If you’re not taking care of your shoppers during the post-purchase experience, your shoppers will feel it—and you’ll feel the repercussions of their discomfort in your sales.
Returns aren’t going away, they’re only growing
Returns are a shopper behavior, one that grows the more successful your brand becomes. This is certainly true for Loop’s brands—this returns season, Loop’s brands saw a 31% in returns YoY—a number in direct alignment with those same brands’ record Black Friday Cyber Monday sales.
This doesn’t mean most shoppers buy with bad intent—66% of consumers never purchased a product with the intent of returning it. Even so, if you’re not considering your returns strategy when thinking about your strategic plans for 2023, you might find yourself blindsided by hefty shipping costs, tough-to-navigate inventory snafus, and a wave of shopper dissatisfaction. Instead, make a cost-effective plan to leverage your brand’s returns, you can build shopper loyalty by getting them the products they want, quickly and easily.
Returns are an opportunity for your brand, not something to dread
When you lean into what your shoppers want, and take smart bets on providing them with a stellar returns experience, you actually stand to make greater profits. 98% of consumers agree 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. And, most consumers (87%) say they’re likely to purchase from a new brand if they know that brand offers post-purchase incentives like discounts on future items or an unlimited return window.
And remember how our brands’ returns increased by almost a third this year during the holiday returns season? Well, those same brands also saw an 11% decrease in refunds this quarter. And a 38% increase in upsell value YoY. What this means is that not only can your returns processes help you retain your most valuable shoppers, when you have a strategic and effective plan for how to leverage your returns, you can see retained revenue on many of your shoppers’ returns, and even earn significant upsell value during the returns process. To grow, your brand needs to embrace returns.