Returnly, the smart returns platform, today released its “2020 State of Returns Report.” Unlike other studies that shed light on online returns by analyzing reverse logistics data, Returnly’s report focuses on shopper behavior at the point of return. It is the largest report of its kind, analyzing a sample of 4 million shoppers in the U.S. spanning across the top growing direct-to-consumer ecommerce verticals. For online retailers and brands, the ability to understand and influence consumer return behavior is critical to ensure profitable growth and keeping hard-earned customers happy.
“Our goal is to give direct-to-consumer brands insights on what modern shoppers expect when returning and exchanging products online,” said Eduardo Vilar, founder and CEO of Returnly. “Our return personas give brands a blueprint to offer memorable return experiences that turn First-Time Returners into Loyalists.”
Meet The Return Personas
While many studies have been done to identify shopper personas to advise merchants before a sale is made, very little has been done to understand customers by their post-purchase behavior. Returnly has distilled key behavioral insights and identified the preferences and expectations of six key returner personas:
- The Loyalist: The Loyalist is the “ideal” returner. Even though Loyalists are three times more likely to return items than the average customer, they buy even more frequently. Returnly data shows they account for 39% of a brand’s revenue and return undamaged merchandise on-time. This allows brands to restock and remarket returns at full price during the season, growing their business profitably. The downside? Loyalists are a rarity: they make less than 10% of the customer base.
- The Now Returner: “Where is my refund?” is the number one customer support contact request after starting a return. For the Now Returner, a slow refund process makes online returns particularly stressful, making them more likely to inbound customer support. They expect an easy-to-navigate, mobile-first experience and proactive updates should delays arise.
- The First-Time Returner: These hesitant yet rule-abiding users are responsible for the bulk of the ad spend of direct-to-consumer brands. They are fast to add items to the shopping cart but slow to click the “buy now” button. The hold up? They always prepare for the worst and scan the returns policy. Offering a convenient, liberal returns policy that is easy to find and is supported by a fair return process can give First-Timers the confidence to buy.
- The Lazy Returner: These customers will make returns on their own time but expect brands to right any wrongs quickly and easily. Lazy Returners start their return more than three weeks after an order has been delivered. The catch? Men are 50% more likely than women to be Lazy Returners.
- The Fitting Room Returner: These customers will buy multiples of the same item in different colors and sizes, try them on in the comfort of their own home, then return what they don’t want. The high rate of returns from Fitting Room Returners results in razor-thin gross margins for brands, something particularly challenging in the fast-moving fashion industry. They place a high value on brands that make returns free, easy and without penalties. Despite their seemingly frenetic shopping habits, brands have a very hard time turning in a profit on Fitting Room Returners.
- The Policy Abuse Returner: These customers buy with no intention of keeping, and use returns as a way to get something they want for free such as shipping fees waived or to wear an outfit once to an event.
For all the insights from Returnly’s State of Returns report, download it here.
Returnly’s 2020 State of Returns Report captures return behavioral data of a random sample of 4 million online consumers ages 18+ in the U.S. across six ecommerce verticals: Apparel, Accessories, Footwear, Jewelry, Beauty and Electronics. Returnly commissioned a third party to augment a sample of 20,000 shopper profiles to arrive at social-demographic profiles.
Returnly is a smart returns platform that helps direct-to-consumers brands offer a return experience like no other. Returnly is the only return solution that lets customers get the right item before returning the wrong one. The result is a world-class shopping experience with the industry’s highest customer satisfaction score of (CSAT) of 91%.
Returnly has also developed a turn-key solution around its financial technology that includes returns management tools as well as hosted and fully brandable end-customer touchpoints like package tracking, online returns and exchanges and Green Returns.