Most Online Purchases Are Returned Due to Retailer Error

Most often, the reason customers return items bought online or by phone is because the item received is incorrect

Voxware

Hamilton, N.J.Jan. 29, 2015Voxware, a provider of voice solutions, released research highlighting why consumers return items purchased online or by phone, and how their experiences with the return process affect their future purchase intentions with retailers. Highlights from the survey, which collected responses from 500 consumers, include:

  • 54 percent of respondents stated that the reason for returning an item purchased online or by phone is because the item is the incorrect size or color.
  • 97 percent of respondents stated that the return process is important to their future intentions to shop with a retailer.
  • 73 percent of respondents who receive an incorrect item after already returning it once stated that they are much less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone again for future purchases.
  • 45 percent of respondents who experienced continuous return process issues with particular retailers stated that they have limited shopping with that retailer altogether (both online and in store).
  • 26 percent of respondents expect the correct item to be shipped to them within one to two days after returning the incorrect item.

Why and How Often Respondents Return Purchased Items

Respondents answered for what reasons they returned items purchased online or by phone:

  • 57 percent stated that the item is correct, but they did not like the item once seeing it in person.
  • 54 percent stated that the item received is the correct item, but it is the incorrect size or color.
  • 25 percent stated that the item received was the incorrect item altogether.

Survey participants were then asked which of the above reasons happens most frequently:

  • 43 percent noted that, more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because they did not like the item once seeing it in person.
  • 42 percent noted that, more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because it is the incorrect size or color.
  • 15 percent noted that, more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because it is the incorrect item altogether.

Therefore, 57 percent of respondents replied that, more often, they return items due to retailer error, whether the size/color is incorrect or the product is wrong altogether. Survey participants also answered what percentage of items that they purchased online or by phone were returned due to retailer error or dissatisfaction with the item:

  • 63 percent answered that up to 10 percent of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction.
  • 20 percent answered that up to 25 percent of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction.
  • 8 percent answered that up to one-third of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction.

Experiences with and Expectations for the Return Process

When asked how important the return process is to their future intentions to shop with a retailer, 97 percent of survey participants agree that it is very important. The majority, 59 percent of respondents, stated that returning products bought online or by phone is moderately easy, but annoying, while nearly 10 percent stated that the return process is difficult.

Additionally, nearly 20 percent of survey participants, after returning an incorrect item, received the incorrect item for a second time. 73 percent of these respondents stated that they are much less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone again for future purchases.

What’s more, 25 percent stated that they experienced return issues more frequently with particular retailers, with 25 percent noting that they have to return items bought online or by phone more frequently when shopping with large vs. small retailers. Of those who answered that they experienced continuous return process issues with particular retailers, 50 percent reduced shopping with the retailer online. Furthermore, 45 percent stated that they reduced their shopping frequency with that retailer altogether (both online and in store).

Once respondents return incorrect items to the retailer, 26 percent expect the correct item to be shipped to them within one to two days, while 43 percent expect the item in three to four days.

“This research proves that, the majority of the time, consumers return products due to retailer error,” stated Keith Philips, president and CEO, Voxware. “Mistakes in the supply chain are happening all too frequently, which not only increase distribution costs, but also severely impact customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and ultimately, bottom lines. Online shopping and consumer expectations will only continue to increase. No question, the time for retailers to optimize their warehouses with wearable technology like voice software is now. Hands-free voice software has proven to significantly reduce warehouse picking errors, so retailers can readily get the right product to the right person and keep those loyal customers happy.”

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