A key objective for retailers is to turn customers into repeat buyers and, according to the results from a Bizrate Insights study conducted earlier this month, it appears that the secret to repeat success may lie in returns processing. This may not come as much of a surprise, but seeing the stats laid out in black and white really drives home the link between a fast, customer-friendly returns process and customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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According to the survey, when an online retailer takes too long to process returns and issue credits, consumers are less likely to recommend that retailer in the future – and are less likely to buy from them again. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they’d be less likely to recommend a retailer if they take too long to issue a credit. Forty percent said they would limit their own shopping with a retailer if the returns process was too long, while another 40 percent said they would stop shopping with that retailer altogether.

“…when an online retailer takes too long to process returns and issue credits, consumers are less likely to recommend that retailer in the future…”

So how long is too long? Seventy-two percent of consumers said they’d be willing to wait five days to receive a credit once the retailer had received their returned merchandise. Twenty-four percent said they’d wait 10 days.

At Newgistics, we’ve long promoted the link between the returns process and customer satisfaction. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re meeting customer expectations:

  • Gain a holistic view of your inventory by merging inventory order management systems so all your data is integrated and readily available – regardless of whether inventory is in a distribution center (DC), a store or with a third-party vendor.
  • Leverage an intelligent returns solution that gives you visibility into what’s coming back, enabling you to credit the customer sooner, as well as re-sell quicker or re-route to a third-party discounter to liquidate.
  • Offer an uncomplicated returns process with prepaid labels and multiple shipping options so customers don’t delay in getting inventory back to you.

To learn more about how Newgistics can help you streamline your returns process and increase the likelihood of repeat buyers, please visit newgistics.com.