O.k., I admit it—when it comes to holiday shopping, I’m the worst. While I do love giving gifts, making thoughtful, well-planned purchasing decisions is just not my thing. Sadly, what I am exceptionally skilled at—where my holiday retail “superpowers” shine through—is being able to secure one random purchase after another with impressive speed on last-minute whirlwind shopping sprees. Luckily, I have one safeguard that brings a sense of peace to my “process”. Whether purchased online or in a storefront, I don’t buy something unless I know it can be returned or exchanged.
Data shows returns are the new norm for ecommerce
My chaotic approach to holiday shopping is not the norm for a majority of today’s holiday shoppers (and for sanity's sake, something I don't advise). According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, “39 percent of holiday shoppers said they would start buying holiday items before November, while 43 percent are waiting until at least November, and 18 percent are waiting until December.”
Where I am aligned with most of today’s shoppers is that I buy with returns (or the ability to return) in mind. Data published in a Shopify Plus article by Aaron Orendorff shows that 41% of shoppers “buy variations of a product with the intent of returning.” And this consumer trend looks like it will translate into a staggering number of returns this holiday season.
Case in point: UPS. Per GlobeNewswire, they’re anticipating a record-breaking holiday returns volume this year with customers due to ship:
- 1 million return packages back to retailers daily during December
- 1.6 million return packages daily the week before Christmas
- 1.9 million returns on January 2, 2020 alone (up 26 percent from last year’s peak return’s day)
Between the uptick in shoppers using returns as part of their buying process and an NRF forecast predicting a significant increase in online and non-store sales, it's safe to say that ecommerce retailers need to be prepared to handle more holiday returns than ever before.
How to Prepare Your Online Store for Holiday Returns
If you’re running an ecommerce operation, returns are a fact of life you’ll have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. If you’re unprepared to handle them—especially during your busiest times of year—they can become a nightmare; impacting profit margins, conversion rates, and your brand’s reputation.
The good news: Returns don’t have to wreak havoc on your business! If you have the right policies and practices in place, there are great opportunities to build shopper loyalty and see profits grow.
In the on-demand webinar How to Prepare Your Online Store for Holiday Returns and Drive Revenue, Jon Feldman, Head of Partnerships at Returnly, shares seven tips that can help you save time, improve customer experience, and boost revenue with product returns this holiday season.
Topics covered during this webinar include:
- The state of product returns and consumer expectations
- What tools brands can leverage to more accurately forecast returns
- How brands can decrease time-spent handling returns
- How brands can turn product returns into new revenue
If you have questions about anything discussed during the webinar or want to learn more about Returnly, don't hesitate to contact a member of our sales team here.