What does it say for a brand to have a flexible and forgiving return policy? Does it say “exploit us by buying, using up and returning?” Does it say “we know this stuff isn’t that good, but we’re hoping you won’t notice?” Not in today’s CX environment: what it actually says to consumers is “we really care about you”—and that is what they want most from brands with which they might choose to be loyal.
New research from return management platform Loop provides key insights into what shoppers value most in the post-purchase experience and how brands can leverage those insights to build customer loyalty—revealing that consumers aren’t just looking for free returns anymore; what they want is a quality experience that shows that brands care about them. Specifically, consumers are looking for personalized experiences, product quality guarantees and easy, seamless returns.
The firm’s most recent consumer report, Let Your Returns Power Customer Loyalty—based on its survey of 2,000 online shoppers across the U.S. and U.K. in May 2023 about their post-purchase preferences and priorities—offers insights to help merchants continue building the most relevant, customer-centric post-purchase experiences.
“Consumers continue to say they want ‘flexible’ and ‘extensive’ return options,” said Tasha Reasor, SVP of marketing at Loop, in a news release. “At Loop, we really want to understand exactly what that means so we can help our merchants provide the best possible experience for their customers. Our latest consumer report gives brands prescriptive insights into how they can prioritize brand loyalty through their post-purchase practices.”
Some additional insights from the report include:
Consumers want seamless, customizable experiences
They can’t be bothered with confusing or complicated returns processes—so much so that it could impact their likelihood of repeat purchase. Two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents said they expect retailers to have an easy-to-follow returns policy. The survey also found that consumers expect options when it comes to how they return: 47 percent prefer dropping off packages at a shipping partner, 37 percent want to avoid the repackaging hassle and return in-store, and 36 percent want the convenience of at-home pickup.
Personalization is the new standard
A significant majority (75 percent) of consumers today expect retailers to suggest new products based on past purchases and interactions. Furthermore, 82 percent are highly incentivized to buy again when offered post-purchase coupons, discounts or enrollment into a loyalty program, which help to further build that personal connection between brand and shopper.
When online shopping, quality guarantees go a long way
Product quality questions are always on the front of consumers’ minds when making online purchases. So much so, that a decisive 93 percent of consumers say that they are more likely to purchase from retailers who offer quality guarantees or warranties, and 25 percent expect some level of quality assurance. With 92 percent of consumers regularly checking a retailers’ return policy before purchase—a percentage up nine points year-over-year—highlighting warranties in return policies can catch consumers’ attention from the get go.
“The power to create customer-centric experiences is at brands’ fingertips,” continued Reasor. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to returns these days, but understanding what your shoppers value, and crafting policies to deliver on those values, will go a long way in building crucial relationships with customers that will lead to long-term loyalty.”