Retailer error is what kills online businesses

Retailer error is what kills online businesses

Voxware has released research highlighting why consumers return items purchased online or by phone, and how their experiences with the return process affect their future purchase intentions with retailers. Highlights from the survey, which collected responses from 500 consumers, include:

  • 54% of respondents said the reason for returning an item purchased online or by phone is because the item is the incorrect size or colour;
  • 97% of respondents said the return process is important to their future intentions to shop with a retailer;
  • 73% of respondents who receive an incorrect item after already returning it once said they are much less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone again for future purchases;
  • 45% of respondents who have experienced continuous return process issues with particular retailers said they have limited shopping with that retailer altogether (both online and in-store);
  • 26% of respondents expect the correct item to be shipped to them within one to two days after returning the incorrect item.

Why and how often respondents return purchased items

Respondents answered for what reasons they have returned items purchased online or by phone:

  • 57% said the item was correct, but they did not like the item once seeing it in-person;
  • 54% said the item received is the correct item, but it is the incorrect size or colour;
  • 25% said the item received was the incorrect item altogether.

Survey participants were then asked which of the above reasons happens most frequently:

  • 43% noted that more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because they did not like the item once seeing it in-person;
  • 42% noted that more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because it is the incorrect size or colour;
  • 15% noted that more often, they return an item purchased online or by phone because it is the incorrect item altogether.

Therefore, 57% of respondents replied that more often, they return items due to retailer error, whether the size/colour is incorrect or the product is wrong altogether. Survey participants also answered what percentage of items that they have purchased online or by phone have been returned due to retailer error or dissatisfaction with the item:

  • 63% answered that up to 10% of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction;
  • 20% answered that up to 25% of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction;
  • 8% answered that up to one-third of the items they purchase online or by phone are returned due to error or dissatisfaction.

Experiences with and expectations for the return process

When asked how important the return process is to their future intentions to shop with a retailer, 97% of survey participants agree that it is very important. The majority, 59% of respondents, said returning products bought online or by phone is moderately easy but annoying, while nearly 10% said the return process is difficult.

Additionally, nearly 20% of survey participants have, after returning an incorrect item, received the incorrect item for a second time. 73% of these respondents said they are much less likely to shop with that retailer online or by phone again for future purchases.

What’s more, 25% said they have experienced return issues more frequently with particular retailers, with 25% noting that they have to return items bought online or by phone more frequently when shopping with large versus small retailers. Of those who answered that they have experienced continuous return process issues with particular retailers, 50% have reduced shopping with the retailer online. Furthermore 45% said they have reduced their shopping frequency with that retailer altogether (both online and in-store).

Once respondents return incorrect items to the retailer, 26% expect the correct item to be shipped to them within one to two days, while 43% expect the item in three to four days.

“This research proves that the majority of the time, consumers return products due to retailer error,” states Keith Philips, president and CEO, Voxware. “Mistakes in the supply chain are happening all too frequently, which not only increase distribution costs, but also severely impact customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and ultimately bottom lines. Online shopping and consumer expectations will only continue to increase. No question, the time for retailers to optimise their warehouses with wearable technology like voice software is now. Hands-free voice software has proven to significantly reduce warehouse picking errors, so retailers can readily get the right product to the right person and keep those loyal customers happy.”

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