NEW: 2023 Returns Benchmark Report - 14M+ returns and over 2500 brands analyzed. See how you stack up
Curated recommendations, commerce options, and messaging throughout each shopper’s journey with your brand—before buying, during purchase, and during returns—are key to building loyalty.
Omnichannel marketing includes a combination of in-store and ecommerce marketing channels, with multiple ways to engage with shoppers, including your website, app, SMS, email, direct mail, and in-person events.
A strong omnichannel strategy can pay off with better retention and higher CLTV: Companies with the strongest omnichannel marketing strategies retain an average of 89% of their shoppers, and omnichannel shoppers have 30% more lifetime value than shoppers who shop on a single channel.
Recommendation: Personalize the shopper experience at all touchpoints, leveraging data analytics to understand which products and messaging each shopper responds best to, and how they typically like to make returns.
Leverage the power of selling to their shoppers natively from social media platforms. The most popular social commerce platforms today include Pinterest, Instagram Live Shopping, TikTok Shopping, YouTube Shopping, Twitter Shops, Twitch, Amazon Live, and Snapchat, many of which incorporate features including live shopping and AR.
In 2020, $27 billion worth of products were sold on social commerce channels, representing 3.4% of the market—and that’s expected to grow to $79.6 billion by 2025. Social commerce is especially popular among members of Generation Z: 61% of adults under 25 have completed a purchase on a social platform.
Recommendation: Build a social commerce strategy on the platforms that your shoppers love, whether that’s Instagram, TikTok, or another social network.
Shoppers want the opportunity to search for and answer their own questions, without needing to wait for support. Shoppers are also increasingly eager for opportunities to resolve their own issues and complete their own research via self-service platforms.
While it’s still important to have a live support option when needed, 67% of shoppers prefer self-service to speaking to a support agent, and 53% of shoppers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t answer their questions quickly.
Recommendation: Build self-service options into your platform, from customer service chatbots to helping shoppers process their own returns through an automated, self-serve returns portal like Loop.
Segmentation, customization, and personalization are crucial to driving shopper loyalty, at every step of their interaction with your brand.
In order to build and engage with your audience, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to. Segmented campaigns bring in 77% of marketing ROI. By focusing on user intent data, brands can prioritize their marketing efforts to invest most heavily in marketing to shoppers who are ready to buy, and to deliver nurturing campaigns to those that are in the early stages of decision-making.
You can use predictive analytics to identify shoppers at risk of churning and re-engage them through targeted marketing campaigns. Additionally, you can identify your most loyal shoppers and provide them with special perks and offers to keep them engaged.
Recommendation: Segment your audience to deliver highly relevant shopper experiences and offers, both pre- and post-purchase.
Shoppers expect merchants to provide numerous choices around shipping and returns, so that they can choose the most convenient option. When mailing returns back, choice is also essential—shoppers want the option to choose between self-service printable labels or drop-off locations. And when it comes to ecommerce delivery, shoppers want the ability to choose higher convenience, even if it comes at a premium cost.
Segmenting which groups like to return in person and which like to exchange online is a great way to make sure you’re providing the right options while saving money.
Recommendation: Provide options for instant return shipping labels or boxless returns at drop-off centers. Provide options for free shipping as well as upgraded faster shipping, such as same-day delivery, for a premium.
Ninety-one percent of shoppers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide personalized experiences and relevant offers based on deep levels of shopper data. Much of this customer data may come from the shoppers themselves: More than half of shoppers are willing to share their preferences to get personalized discounts. Personalized suggestions at checkout influenced 92% of shoppers to purchase more.
When returns take place, you can provide options for recommended exchanges based on the reason for the return, such as a different size or color, or different products that have a similar fit or design to each shopper’s other favorites.
Recommendation: Make personalized recommendations based on previous purchases, and provide up-sell and cross-sell opportunities when each shopper checks out.
Customer support shouldn’t be reactive—it should be part of delivering a great shopper experience from end to end.
When choosing one brand over another, 80% of shoppers say that the shopping experience—the overall impression of your brand through the shopper journey—is a key differentiator. Shopper spending increases by up to 140% following a positive experience, and shoppers are 2.4 times more likely to stay loyal to a brand when problems are resolved in a timely manner.
A strong shopper experience is just as critical when managing the returns process, so make sure that you’re empowering your shoppers with the tools they need to process returns efficiently. When it comes to customer service—especially during the returns process—focus on automating simple requests, with elevated customer support available to handle more complex needs.
Recommendation: Prioritizing shopper experience doesn’t just mean focusing on pre-purchase—interacting with your brand should delight your shoppers from the first touch to the last (and all the way through the returns process).
76% of shoppers are more likely to recommend brands that provide simple shopping and returns experiences. That includes making it as easy as possible for shoppers to solve their own problems: 67% prefer self-service over interacting with a customer support agent.
The easier it is to shop (and return) with your brand, the more your shoppers will come back to buy more of the products they love. 98% of shoppers 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. Simplicity is also important in the post-purchase process: Returns should be as simple as clicking a button, and should not involve having to reach out to customer support.
Recommendation: When choosing a returns solution, look for software that makes it easy (and fun) for shoppers to make their exchanges and returns.
The key to creating a stellar shopper experience? Understanding each of your shoppers’ unique journeys and issues, then choosing tools and solutions that align with their needs.
Regardless of how your shoppers have interacted with your brand before, be sure to provide a consistent experience that contextualizes the shopper’s previous brand interactions. If you don’t get it right, it can cost you: 69% of shoppers have stopped doing business with a brand after a negative customer support experience. But on the other hand, shoppers with effortless support experiences are 94% more likely to repurchase your products, and there’s an 88% probability of increase in spend.
Recommendation: When your shoppers feel taken care of, they reward you—and keep coming back. Make it easy to shop and return at your store with good customer support and personalized attention.
Returns aren’t going away, they’re only growing—and that’s a good thing.
Returns are an opportunity for your brand, not something to dread.