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How Product Returns Impact The Customer Experience

Peter Sobotta
Updated 06/05/18 5:29 PM

Analysts are adamant that succeeding in retail today is all about the customer experience. And we're learning that nothing impacts the customer experience more than product returns. Analyst and trade magazine web sites like this one are chock full of advice on becoming more customer-centric. Accordingly, research just released by JDA Software has some sobering news for retailers as their peak sales days rapidly approach: Those than cannot meet expectations risk losing 33% of shoppers to a competitor that offers a more convenient or streamlined shopping experience, whether during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or as they make purchase decisions throughout the year.

A Positive Customer Experience Increases Lift

JDA says retailers’ biggest omnichannel challenge is balancing the need to satisfy customers with maintaining profitability. The company advocates a more holistic view of logistics and fulfillment strategies in order to make better informed decisions. This leads to a consistent omnichannel experience for customers and more profits for the retailer.

The JDA study also found 88% of customers agreeing that ease of product returns is a key factor in where they shop.

In addition to the importance of enhancing the customer experience, the JDA study points out the following:

  • Satisfying the customer is widely viewed as the best route to profitability.
  • The vast majority of customers are looking at product return policies when they choose where to buy.
  • A more holistic view of logistics and fulfillment are seen as paths to deliver both productivity and customer satisfaction.

It’s high time that retailers gain a better view into their fulfillment processes, and a key one of these is the product returns experience. Not only do retailers need to make product returns painless. They also need to gain new insight into what’s happening when customers do choose to send the product back. Why are they sending it? And what can we learn from those reasons that will help us improve operations, fulfillment and what makes customers happy?

Smart retailers are already using the data within product returns to enhance the customer experience and drive repeat sales. Average retailers continue to fall behind in the winner take all landscape of ecommerce.

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