Inmar Intelligence Survey Reveals that a Good Return Experience is a High Priority for Online Shoppers

Eighty percent of online shoppers read the merchant’s return policy before making an online purchase and if they encounter a bad return experience, shoppers are more likely to break merchant loyalty

Winston-Salem, NC, Oct. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Inmar Intelligence, a data-driven technology-enabled services company, today announced findings from a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults that aimed to find consumer’s online and in-store return preferences. The survey examined why consumers make returns, the parts of the process they value most, and what determines if they’ll shop with that merchant again after completing a return process.

While online shopping is convenient, the return process can be daunting, leading consumers to shop more in-store to try on, purchase, and return. But now, with the world at our fingertips, online shopping allows consumers to purchase goods from afar. Yet the process of shipping returns continues to become more complex as purchase options increase. 

On that note, Inmar Intelligence found that 32 percent of respondents said they’ve made four to six online purchases in the last three months, and 31 percent said they’ve made 10 or more. 

Shoppers are also ordering multiple items with the assumption they’ll return some of the items, whether online or in-store. Additional key findings from the survey include:

  • With the rise in online shopping comes more returns. Nearly 55 percent of respondents made online purchases knowing they were likely to return at least some of the items purchased.
  • The fine print is important. Eighty percent read the online merchant’s return policy before making a purchase versus 67 percent who ask about the in-store return policy before they buy.
  • Despite offering free shipping for product returns, 44 percent of respondents still prefer to return in-store.
  • Are return shipping fees a dealbreaker? This survey finds that they aren’t. When asked if returning in-store is a perk and leads shoppers to purchase from a merchant, 84 percent said yes. When asked if they’d still shop with a merchant if they had to pay for shipping a return, 57 percent said yes. 
  • Returns are not always smooth sailing. Fifty-nine percent of the survey respondents said they’ve had a bad experience returning a product they purchased online, which led a majority of them to stop shopping with that merchant. 
  • For those returning in-store, what do they prefer? Respondents said they most value instant credit, in-store coupons, and convenient drop-off locations.

“The bottom line is that an optimized post-purchase experience has the power to drive customer loyalty, increase sales and earn customer trust,” said Ken Bays, Vice President of Product Development at Inmar Intelligence. “However, the findings suggest that disconnects exist in the management of the post-purchase experience. Omnichannel retailers would benefit greatly by offering free in-store returns for online purchases. These retailers may even add fees for mail-back returns as a way to further incent shoppers to return in-store. Pure-play e-commerce retailers would benefit by offering greater convenience through multiple pick-up and drop-off locations.”

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About Inmar Intelligence 

Commerce Accelerated.™

Inmar Intelligence is a leading applied data platform company. $120 billion dollars of commerce runs through our market-driven platforms which are propelling digital transformation through unified data, workflows and fund flows to help companies drive innovation and achieve digital transformation. Our integrated workflows create insights through Analytics, AI and Machine Learning to drive faster actions and outcomes.

Throughout our 41-year history, we have served retailers, manufacturers, pharmacies, health systems, government and employers as their trusted intermediary in helping them redefine success. For more information about Inmar, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, or call (866) 440-6917.


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