HAMILTON, NJ - January 4, 2017 - Voxware, a leading provider of cloud-based solutions for distribution operations, today released research highlighting why consumers return items purchased online or by phone and how their experiences with the returns process affects their future intentions to shop with retailers. The results of the third biennial report, which surveyed more than 500 consumers, demonstrate the increased importance of the returns process in consumer purchasing decisions as well as the impact that shipping incorrect orders has on consumer loyalty. Highlights from the survey include:
• 96.8% agree that how well an online retailer handles returns influences whether they will decide to order items from them again in the future
• 36.2% prefer to return items purchased online or by phone with a prepaid mailing label and 44.9% prefer in-store returns
• 24.0% stated that a retailer has sent them an incorrect item for a second time after returning an item that was sent in error
• 60.3% of those who received an incorrect order twice said they are unlikely to shop with that retailer again for future purchases
• 28.4% expect retailers to replace item(s) shipped in error with the correct item(s) in 2 days or less
• 37.7% expect compensation (such as a discount, coupon, or credit) from the retailer when they receive the wrong item or when an item arrives late
• 45.5% are likely or very likely to share their negative experiences about a product and/or retailer online if a delivery is late or the wrong item is received
"Companies that want to deliver a superior customer experience and achieve greater brand loyalty must understand the importance of both inbound and outbound distribution operations in the customer decision-making process," said Keith Phillips, President and CEO, Voxware. "Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming evidence that the returns process affects future buying decisions, this research exposes the gaps many companies still have in their distribution operations. By failing to close these gaps with technology solutions that deliver essential supply chain information exactly when and where it is needed, companies will continue to disappoint customers with late and incorrect orders."
Consumers Consider Returns Process When Making Purchasing Decisions
Unfortunately, the survey found that many consumers still suffer from outbound distribution operations processes that lead to an abundance of retailer errors:
• 23.2% noted that 10% or more of the items they return are because of retailer error
• 31.4% stated they had received an item that was correct but was the incorrect size or color
• 21.5% stated they had received the incorrect item altogether
• 20.0% specified they return items received from large retailers more frequently compared to purchases from small retailers
Even With Perfect Accuracy, Companies Still Need to Prepare for Returns
Respondents also noted a myriad of other reasons for returning items purchased online or by phone:
• 35.2% stated that the item was correct but did not like the item once seeing it in-person
• 34.5% stated that the item was correct but poor quality
• 12.8% stated that the item was correct but arrived late
• 36.0% stated that the item was damaged or showed signs of previous use
Returning for a Second Chance
Surprisingly, the survey results also indicate that many retailers fail to ship the correct item even when given a second chance. 24.0% of consumers stated that they have received the incorrect item for a second time after returning an item. This figure represents a 25% increase in the number of occurrences compared to survey results from 2014. However, what may be the most telling result is the fact that 7.4% of consumers did not reorder from retailers who initially shipped an incorrect item and instead requested a refund.
The Lasting Impact of Errors
When asked about whether they expect compensation (i.e. discount, coupon, credit, etc.) from the retailer when they receive the wrong item and/or an item arrives late many consumers made their expectations known that retailers should provide compensation of some kind:
• 37.7% expect compensation for both late and wrong items.
• 27.2% expect compensation only when the wrong item is received.
• 9.1% expect compensation only when item arrives late.
Similarly, the detrimental impact on a brand's reputation is not limited to a single consumer. When asked how likely they were to share their negative experiences about a late delivery or incorrect shipment on social media, customer review sites, or other public forums, 45.5% of consumers reported they are likely or very likely to share their negative experiences with an additional 29.3% indicating that they were at least somewhat likely to take the same course of action.
For more information, please visit www.voxware.com.