Retailers failing to be upfront about their returns policies

Retailers are still letting their customers down in terms of how open they are with their returns with only 6% promoting their policies at all three key stages of the returns purchase – product, basket and checkout page according to a new report from ReBOUND.

The research also shows that fewer retailers are offering free returns in at least one international market, from 55% in Q1 to just 28% in the latest poll. The drop was particularly significant in the UK, Ireland, Germany and USA.

“This is one of the most insightful benchmarks that we’ve done to-date,” explained Charlotte Monk-Chipman, head of marketing at ReBOUND. “We use the research as a way of stepping into the shoes of shoppers from all over the world to see how this first interaction with a return policy affects their return experience.”

The report measures the return policies of over 200 retailers using seven key metrics covering interactions with shoppers, which impact the pre-purchase and post-purchase journey. These measure various aspects of returns – from choice of returns options and timescales for refunds, to policy reminders and free returns.

The benchmark also showed a 5% increase in brands offering customers different returns periods to account for varying transit times, and a 3% improvement in website accessibility, which considers the number of ‘moves’ it takes for a customer to access returns policies online.

“If brand loyalty is the dream, then an awesome customer returns experience can absolutely influence repeat purchase decisions,” said Monk-Chipman. “But many of the top brands are still missing a trick here. The return journey begins online, long before you buy something and try it on. That’s what our research is all about – transforming the way the ecommerce industry thinks about returns and getting retailers to re-examine their own focus on customer experience.”

To view the results from the benchmark in full, visit

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