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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 08, 2015

Returns process key to retaining customers

When the MetaPack Group undertook research to understand what people really think about returns processes offered by retailers in Europe they found that it is necessary to provide consumers with many options.

by Helen Leggatt

Returns processes are a key factor in the success of a retailer to retain customers - it's fast becoming a key competitive advantage. So much so that MetaPack's research found that 83% of consumers would stay loyal if a retailer provided a reliable and effective returns service.

"Having lots of options is no longer a luxury - it has become a necessity," says Kees de Vos, Chief Commercial Officer at MetaPack. "Returns are well-known to be a tricky area for online retailers. But returns should be seen as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and retention through offering convenience and choice and a positive experience to support future spending."


More than a quarter of those consumers surveyed said they found it frustrating or difficult to return a product they purchased online. Furthermore, more than half of them (58%) were disappointed that the returns process was not free of charge, 51% found it too complicated and 46% found it inconvenient.

"It's important that retailers invest in reverse logistics capabilities to support multi-channel so that increased volumes of returns can be managed independently without disrupting the rest of the system," added de Vos. "One option may be to look at services like Uber that could offer a flexible pickup service as well as how expanding networks of click and collect sites can be utilised."

A pilot project is currently underway in Germany to use a customer's car as a delivery point. Thecollaboration between Amazon, Audi and delivery firm DHL takes the idea of delivery lockers to a whole new level allowing Amazon Prime Members to designate the trunk of their car as their delivery location. Using Audi's in-car infotainment technology, Connect, the car owners can give temporary authorization to DHL personnel to deliver items via one-time keyless access to the vehicle's trunk. Interestingly, the company are also working on ways in which the same process could be used for returns.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer experience, ecommerce, retention, returns

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