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Returns Experience Critical to Customer Satisfaction and Retention, Doddle

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With Spike in E-Commerce Returns Expected Post-COVID-19, Retailers Must Ensure Their Returns Processes and Systems are Ready, as 74 Percent of Respondents Think Retailers Need Returns Improvement

Doddle, a leading international e-commerce solutions provider that designs, develops and integrates consumer fulfilment and returns technology, announces the findings of a survey it conducted to uncover how important the e-commerce returns experience is to consumers. The research of almost 1,400 U.S. consumers was done in May 2020.

It has been challenging for many retailers to understand the overall effect of e-commerce returns, as the process has typically been manual, not digitized like other processes including delivery and payment. With no real insight into the impact of returns, they have been considered a necessary but unfortunate cost and therefore sidelined in terms of importance, particularly with regards to customers’ overall satisfaction and retention.

Interestingly, though, Doddle’s survey found that consumers weigh returns as equally significant as delivery and payment with regards to their overall e-commerce experience, even slightly more so. (84 percent said the returns experience is important with regards to their opinion of a retailer, with 83 percent saying the same for delivery and payment, respectively.) It also found that almost three quarters of respondents (74 percent) feel retailers’ returns experiences need to be better.

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Following are some highlights from Doddle’s research:

  • 84 percent of respondents said a positive returns experience encourages them to shop with a retailer again
  • 74 percent of consumers noted that U.S. retailers should do more to improve their returns experiences
  • When asked what would make respondents reconsider shopping with a retailer in the future
    • 60 percent said if they had to pay shipping fees to return an item
    • 40 percent said if it took a long time to secure a refund on their return
    • 38 percent said if the returns policy window was too short
    • 32 percent said if they need to obtain a return authorization from customer support
    • 30 percent said if they were not able to track a returned item
  •  When asked what they would prefer from retailers when returning an item
    • 68 percent of respondents said free returns
    • 45 percent said convenient locations to return an item(s) to
    • 44 percent said reusable/resealable packaging that can be used for returns
    • 41 percent said communications and visibility (tracking the parcel, confirmation of receipt, refund information, etc.)
    • 38 percent said being refunded once the item has shipped
    • 33 percent said no need to print a returns label

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“This insight is now more critical than ever, as COVID-19 has generated a significant bump in e-commerce sales, with e-commerce returns only expecting to increase as well as a result,” said Dan Nevin, Doddle’s North America CEO. “Between the impending surge in returns, consumers’ experiences with the process and the overall impact on satisfaction and retention, the timing has never been better for retailers to get a solid handle on their e-commerce returns processes and systems. Platforms like Doddle’s digitize and streamline the returns journey for both consumers and retailers, providing ease and convenience for consumers and knowledge for retailers that enables them to improve customer interactions and reduce costs.”

Doddle’s survey was conducted by YouGov. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,386 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between May 5-7, 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+).

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