Consumers Demand More Flexibility from Online Retailers

While shopping online has many benefits for consumers, when it comes to purchasing wearable goods (clothing, accessories, shoes), the consumer does not have the opportunity to try on an item prior to purchasing it, which often leads to the need to return the item. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, as much as a third of all online sales get returned.

When selling things like apparel, accessories and shoes online, ecommerce businesses have to overcome a major hurdle. Clothes, sunglasses, jewelry and sneakers are all products that shoppers really like to feel, hold and try on – which is impossible to do through an Internet connection.

Given this dilemma, savvy online retailers know that it’s important to instill confidence in online shoppers by being especially accommodating with returns. Buyers who know they’ll have an easy time returning clothing, accessories or shoes that don’t fit or just don’t work for their style, might even be willing to buy more initially. And, if they end up returning items, but appreciate the ease of the experience, they may be more likely to buy from the same business again. A 2013 study conducted by Comscore reported that 67% of consumers said they would shop more with a retailer if they offer a hassle-free returns policy.

The good news is that e-tailers in this industry have a great opportunity to make things easy for consumers to “buy and try” without the risk of losing money on unused return shipping labels. Endicia Pay-on-Use Returns allows online retailers to print USPS shipping labels, with the postage being deducted from their postage account only if and when a return label is scanned upon entering the mail stream. The beauty of this is that the online retailer avoids the hassle of having to request a refund for return labels that go unused, as well as the cost of including prepaid labels in shipments. It’s a win-win for both the consumer and the retailer.

Once e-tailers embrace the philosophy that frequent returners are also frequent buyers, they’ll soon notice a positive impact on their bottom line.

To find out how your small business can take advantage of Pay-on-Use Returns and transform shipping from a challenge into an opportunity, check out this video here

For more insight, check out our ecommerce tips and trends page.

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