Canadian businesses of all sizes invest a great deal of time, money and energy into attracting browsers, and converting them into buyers. But if a customer isn't completely satisfied with their purchase, allowing them to easily and successfully return it can mean the difference between whether they stay loyal to your business or head to the competition.
Findings from our recent survey of Canadian online shoppers uncovered that e-commerce returns represent the biggest gap between what online shoppers expect, and what merchants offer. Building strategies to close this gap could mean changes to your existing policies and practices. But it's a moment of truth for customer retention and a deciding factor for subsequent business.
If businesses want their online shopping experience to positively represent their brand, they need to understand, and be sensitive to online shopper expectations. The more you know your customer, their expectations and what they value in their online shopping experience (including returns) the better off your business will be.
Are you willing to wager a third of your customer base by ignoring the opportunity to improve your returns process?
The most common returns challenges
In many cases, a few changes to your existing policy can transform a mediocre returns experience into a great one. Identifying your customers' challenges and taking proactive steps to address them will increase the likelihood that they'll make repeat purchases.
How returns can impact present shoppers and future sales
In a fast-changing e-commerce landscape where merchants are constantly competing for online shoppers' share of wallet, the returns experience becomes an important extension of your acquisition efforts. Establishing the ideal returns experience is crucial to turning a one-time online shopper into a loyal customer. Remember, 1 in 3 Canadians said they wouldn't purchase from the same merchant again after having a negative returns experience. In this sense, you're short-changing your future self if you don't objectively examine your current approach.
In the last 12 months, 1 in 4 Canadians said they had a less than satisfactory returns experience. Ask yourself if your policy provides the clarity, simplicity and convenience that online shoppers are looking for. If not, you may be missing out on future sales.
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