The returns policy of online retailers has a major impact on their level of success. See What Consumers Want in Returning Items and How Shoppers Use the Return Option for Online Purchases.
Returns policies have become so important that we must ask: Is encouraging returns a good idea? Some retailers allow consumers to buy multiple versions of the same item. And then return as many of the products as they want. At no cost and with free shipping.
Retailers: Is Encouraging Returns a Good Idea?
Certainly, this is a practice worth examining.
“Retailers like Warby Parker and Amazon popularized ‘try-before-you-buy’ by letting consumers try products at no upfront cost. The consumer is only charged for what they keep, and the remainder is returned. A February 2018 study from Brightpearl, conducted by OnePoll, found that over 40% of US and UK retailers have seen a spike in intentional returns compared with a year ago. What’s more, some 70% of retailers believe the try-before-you-buy model leads to more returns.”
According to the study, “[Try-before-you-buy] creates a tsunami of returns that could overwhelm retailers that do not have the processes or workflows in place to cope with that level of change. More than eight in 10 retailers surveyed said they haven’t adopted a try-before-you-buy program — and of that group, six in 10 don’t intend to. Just 8.5% said they plan to adopt within the next 12 months, while another 29.7% weren’t sure.”