Returns: a convenience wasteland?

More than 3 in 4 consumers said recent online returns experiences were a hassle. We wanted to learn why.

We’ll admit it: we kinda stan returns.

Returns bring customers back and create opportunities to make them happy—after all, how often do you get second chances? Meanwhile, an inconvenient return could tarnish your brand with the perception of being customer-hostile. According to our weekly Order Experience tracker, 80% of consumers rank returns as important to the overall order experience, tied at the #1 spot with unboxing, and significantly ahead of steps like checkout and delivery.

  • 3 in 4 consumers (76%) report that they have returned at least one item from their last few online purchases.
  • How did they fare? 78% said the returns process was inconvenient, while only 22% said the process was easy.

That top reason is especially distressing to older consumers. Baby Boomers (26%) and Gen X (24%) are more likely to call this out compared to Millennials (19%) and Gen Z (18%) – despite younger generations generally falling in the “who needs a printer?” camp. Other gripes included having to call customer service to start a return (something retailers aren’t fond of either) and the complexity of printing shipping labels at home.

BOXpoll™ by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture,and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed February 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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