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Returns are the key to retaining UK customers says new research

Over 83% of consumers would stay loyal to a retailer with an easier returns delivery service but majority expect a free service and more convenience and choice

London, UK – 1st April 2015 – The MetaPack Group, the leading provider of eCommerce technology for delivery services, today highlighted new research into how a a retailer’s returns policy can be a positive tool for customer retention and brand loyalty.

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MetaPack’s research was undertaken to understand what people really think about the returns processes that are currently on offer from retailers across Europe. The findings reveal that 83% of consumers would stay loyal if a retailer could provide a reliable and effective returns service. With retention being a key factor in the success of a retailer, it is clear that an efficient returns policy could provide a compelling competitive advantage in the crowded market and act as a lever to drive additional sales.

The research shows that consumers are increasingly expecting the same price, flexibility and convenience when they return a product as when it is delivered. This view was echoed across a wide range of ages and shoppers, regardless if the consumer was a light, medium or heavy user of online shopping. It also found that over a quarter of consumers find it difficult or frustrating to return items they have bought online – of these, 58% were unhappy because the service was not free, 51% complained that it was  too complicated and 46% found that it was not convenient to drop off the parcel. Consumers, educated well about price, ease of use and convenience for the drop-off of their order, are now expecting exactly the same service for the return – and they’ll take their business elsewhere if they don’t get it.

Kees de Vos, Chief Commercial Officer at MetaPack, said “Having lots of options is no longer a luxury – it has become a necessity. Returns are well-known to be a tricky area for online retailers. But returns should be seen as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and retention through offering convenience and choice and a positive experience to support future spending. It’s important that retailers invest in reverse logistics capabilities to support multichannel so that increased volumes of returns can be managed independently without disrupting the rest of the system. One option may be to look at services like Uber that could offer a flexible pickup service as well as how expanding networks of click and collect sites can be utilised.”

MetaPack will be hosting a webinar on the 21st April to discuss some of the key themes of the research and how retailers can keep pace with consumer demand for flexibility in returns.