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Returns Strategies Need Focus

Cross-border shipping challenges can translate into lost business.




Older consumers are more reluctant to pay returns charges than their younger counterparts, a new study concludes. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

One in four shoppers avoid buying from international retailers due to concerns about returns, a new study by ESW and Asendia concludes. Titled “Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty,” the report proposes that “a robust cross-border returns strategy isn’t just another box to tick, it’s a strategic imperative,” says Helen Scurfield, Ascendia’s CEO Global Returns.

Key findings from the report include:

  • About half of shoppers are willing to purchase products even if there is a nominal charge to make a return.
  • Gen Z shoppers are nearly twice as likely as Baby Boomers to accept a returns fee.
  • A quarter of consumers would be more likely to shop cross-border if all import charges, taxes and duties were disclosed.
  • 40% of shoppers are willing to wait up to a week for their international purchases to be delivered.

The study bases its findings on data from more than 18,000 respondents in 18 countries. Those results show customer expectations regarding the post-purchase journey — particularly those regarding cross-border returns — “are both high and varied,” says the report.

“Prioritizing a seamless, customer-centric return process enhances satisfaction, builds trust and ultimately fuels long-term success,” said Scurfield, whose company is global direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce firm. “Each market is a unique ecosystem, with distinct customer behaviors and preferences.”

Click here to download the report.




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HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

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