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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 19, 2015

Retailers: How to make returns work for you

The National Retail Federation reports holiday retail sales increased just over 4% year over year to land just over $616 billion; nearly $50 billion of that was spent online according to comScore. But now comes the problem: the returns. Up to 25% of holiday gifts will be returned according to some estimates and while many returns will be legitimate some will be fraudulent.

by Kristina Knight

No one likes returns. Retailers don't like to take products back to put on their shelves and consumers don't like running around town trying to return a pair of jeans or a malfunctioning Christmas toy. While returns will likely never be completely painless, there are ways to make returns work for you.

First, listen. Eduardo Vilar, CEO and Found of Returnly, points out that will most shoppers (66%) read returns policies before they buy, many do not because those returns policies are long. On average it takes about 5 minutes to read one of these policies and shoppers don't want to take the time.

Second, learn. Desktop commerce continues to outpace mobile commerce, points out Vilar, but mobile is gaining fast. The problem? Many retailers aren't prepared - for mobile commerce or returns.

"Only 8% of the most popular retailers in the Top 500 US list offer mobile friendly product returns," said Vilar.

Third, lead your customers. Vilar pointed out that most shoppers aren't reading returns policies. He also mentions the need for mobile friendly product return options. Savvy retailers can win at returns by leading customers in both respects.

"Retailers can create a huge competitive advantage by crafting more liberal product returns policies," said Vilar. "Retailers see product returns as a cost of doing business. Returnly turns product returns into an opportunity to increase business. Shoppers that are given the best product returns experience become hyper-loyal customers."

More from Vilar and Returnly later this week including the trends he's seeing as 2015 gets into gear.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: 2014 holiday trends, ecommerce, ecommerce returns, retail return policy, Returnly

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