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Free Returns Are Happening - Is Your Company On Board?

by Laura Gee

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With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping is changing faster than ever and bringing new demands and expectations with it. A ReBOUND survey has found that 59% of shoppers now expect returns to be either cheaper than before, or free since the outbreak of Coronavirus.

Shoppers don’t want a complicated returns process (they never have) but they also don’t want to have to return their unwanted orders to a high-street store anymore – and they definitely don’t want to pay to send their goods back.

So why would you want to offer free returns at your company? Here are 3 of the biggest reasons to get you started:


1.  Your customers already expect it

In a global survey of online shoppers, UPS found that a whopping 80% of consumers expect retailers to offer free returns.

And from a consumer perspective, that makes perfect sense. With so many big retailers already offering free returns, why should shoppers expect any less?

But when we dig a little deeper, it’s about more than just the money:

It’s about creating a positive shopping experience – a smooth and painless returns journey that takes the stress and bother away from your customers.

Almost half (42%) of shoppers said that free returns were the most important part of a positive returns experience. But more than a quarter (28%) wanted a ‘hassle-free returns policy’ – and 20% were looking for an ‘easy-to-follow returns procedure’.

So while an overwhelming majority of shoppers expect free returns, they’re not just looking to save money:

They’re looking for convenience.

And if you want to create a positive customer experience with your returns, you need to be able to give it to them.


2.  Your competitors are already doing it

We all know the online giants that make returns free and easy. Places like Amazon and Asos have been offering free returns for years, and they’re famous for their smooth and fast returns processes.

But in reality, retailers of all sizes have already moved over to free returns. And if your company isn’t looking into it, you could be missing out.

In a study of 100 European companies with both an online and physical presence, an impressive 82% of retailers are already offering a free returns policy.

It’s an overwhelming trend that reflects both the changes in customer demands – and the value that retailers are placing on creating a positive shopping experience.

From our own data at ReBOUND, we’ve found that retailers who offer free returns are 45 points higher on their Net Promoter Score (a measure of customer loyalty and satisfaction) when compared to companies that make their customers pay for their own returns.

With so many companies making the move (and seeing huge improvements in customer satisfaction), it’s not about whether you can afford free returns:

It’s about whether you can afford not to.


3.  Your shoppers will keep coming back

We already know that customers want a simple and hassle-free returns process. But what does that mean when we start looking at their behaviour?

The answer is simple:

A positive returns experience creates more repeat customers.

Recent data from Acquire Convert shows that a massive 89% of customers would buy again after a good returns experience – leading to long-term loyalty and satisfaction that could easily outweigh the cost of the return itself.

According to data from UPS, 69% of shoppers indicate that paying for a return affects the liklihood of them purchasing again.  

It’s a trend we see again and again with our own clients here at ReBOUND. After UK sportswear brand Gymshark went live with us in 2017, they saw a 204% increase in returning customers (as well as a 90% increase in new customer acquisition) – all after making the switch to a free returns experience.

So if you’re looking for increased customer loyalty and satisfaction (and a significant boost to your repeat purchases), the best place to start is with a positive returns experience for your shoppers.


But what if your company won’t offer free returns?

We know as well as anyone that returns can be costly. And if you’re thinking about moving your company to free returns, it won’t always be easy to get support from the people upstairs.

So we’ve put together a brand-new eBook, “A Guide To Offering a Free Returns Policy”. It’s an in-depth guide to the challenges and rewards of creating a positive returns experience, including:

  • The key statistics you need to make a case for free returns
  • The winning success stories of companies who are already seeing results
  • The steps you need to take to plan, trial, and promote your new offering
  • And the alternatives to free returns that can boost your customer satisfaction – without breaking the bank.

Ready to see more? Get your hands on the free eBook today – and start making your case to bring free returns to your happy and loyal customers.


Download 'A Guide To Offering A Free Returns Policy'