Why everything you assume about your shopper is wrong..

 

Sales are great aren’t they?  For every marketeer, pretty much without exception, looking at response rates, average baskets, and sales from your campaign is like a shot in the arm.  Triumph.  We look at our response uplifts, congratulate ourselves on our customer selections, creative execution and content and move to using what worked, to make the next campaign even better..

 

But..  what if, 60% of all the dresses we sold through our campaign get returned?  What if the customers I think are my best customers are actually serial returners who are costing my business a fortune? Well, let’s not think about that because the sales were great weren’t they.  Reverse logistics nightmares, handling costs, out of stock issues, that is surely someone else’s problem, isn’t it?

 

The reality is, it’s time for a seismic paradigm shift in the way we think about the sales and our customer.  With the increasing growth of online fashion sales, and as customers become more and more comfortable with the concept of their home being their changing room, retailers have to grasp a basic concept – a sale is not a sale until the customer decides to keep it.

 

The simple reality is, using our big data algorithms to match customers with a product they will actually keep is game changing in its simplicity.  Optimizing what a customer ‘keeps’ rather than ‘sales’ is the only viable way forward.   The benefits are endless for every business unit – sales growth, retained revenue, operation cost savings, improved personalisation and stock availability improvements, not to mention the fact that by marketing products to customers they will want to keep is putting them at the heart of what you do.

 

We are the only company globally that can lead this change.  We understand who are keepers, who are high risk to your business from a return, who should be encouraged to return and explore and what product or category your customer should be marketed with to make sure what they buy they actually keep.  Feeding customers who are costing your business money with endless marketing campaigns, promotions and incentives has to become a thing of the past and with new big data technology, it can be.

 

Adding revenue to the bottom line has actually never been easier, retailers simply need to take the blue pill and delve into the new world of customer returns behaviour.

 

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Viv Sutherland
Director of Sales
Tel:   +44 (0) 141 554 4175
Email: viv@clearreturns.com

Easter bunnies beware: the peak trading woes aren’t over for retailers as returns still roll in

The aisles may be packed with chocolate and the Christmas decorations long since packed away, but the festive season continues to impact the retail sector, in ways that businesses may not have accounted for.

This is because retailers have calculated their performance on sales alone – what customers bought in-store or online – rather than what they chose to keep. Returns are a £60 billion problem for the UK retail industry alone, and will be further eroding results of what was already a weak Christmas for many organisations.

For many retailers, this year’s festive figures told a sorrowful story. December’s unseasonably warm weather impacted sales in the fashion sector, with Next – usually the barometer of Christmas success – only seeing sales rise 0.4% year on year, while Primark, Bonmarché and Marks & Spencer all reported losses.
Even strong performers like John Lewis, which experienced a 7% increase in sales over the festive period, or Debenhams, which recorded a 3.5% sales rise, are not immune from the cost of returns – particularly from online shoppers.

The steep adoption of online shopping is, in fact, making matters worse and ecommerce has a much higher return rate than items bought in the store. This is often due to an expectation gap between what the customer thinks they have ordered and the reality of their purchase once it arrives.

Almost £1 in every £5 was spent online in December, according to British Retail Consortium, with web sales up nearly 20% on last year. This will have brought a flood of returned, unwanted products into stores during January and it may not be yet over, as under the Consumer Rights Act, shoppers now have 30 days to send back an item and receive a full refund if it is faulty or sold ‘not as described’. Stock returned during January sales results in valuable margins being lost, as once the item has been processed it will return to the shelves at a reduced cost.   That is all too apparent in the results currently being reported.

Our data showed that the total estimated cost of returns to retailers from Black Friday reached £180million. This figure increased further as retailers processed unwanted Christmas gifts. This issue will be hitting some businesses harder than others; around 30% of multichannel women’s fashion is returned, for example.

And many retailers will still be dealing with the repercussions of peak trading returns, having put them on the backburner to concentrate on sales.

A key peak trading lesson for the retail sector is that the sale isn’t over until the customer has decided to keep the item. Retailers’ number one task for 2016 should be to recognise the true cost of returns and work to understand why items are not being kept in order to secure and boost realistic profits.

Want to know how your returns stack up against the market? Access our new free returns benchmark reporting tool.

Playing For Keeps – keep stock sold over the peak trading period

 

Keeping stock sold – avoiding returns the key to retail profits

The sales figures over the peak trading periods of Christmas and Black Friday may make the headlines, but those returns coming back over the next 28 days will cost retailers millions…and often get ignored.

It’s time to get the facts.

Playing for keeps…

Clear Returns new Playing For Keeps report offers the facts around returns on Black Friday, peak season and beyond. £160 million of Black Friday stock is set to be returned, stock that will then be unavailable to sell during the most critical trading period of the year…Christmas.

Playing For Keeps is more important than ever as it is not really a sale until the customer decides to keep it. Returns kill retail profits and Clear Returns presents the facts that the wider retail business simply cannot afford to ignore:

 

Clear Returns can help retailers regain an extra £1 million for every £10 million returned, statistics which make Clear Returns one of Europe’s  top tech scale-ups according to The Telegraph.

Expert insight…

Clear Returns CEO, Vicky Brock, explains why Black Friday could end up being a short term gain but long term loss for many retailers:-

“Forget the headline-grabbing figures of what analysts say people are going to spend on Black Friday. That’s just the beginning. The real concern is that the event could end up costing retailers money rather than boosting their profits.”

“This is because the spike in sales from November 27 will be followed, for many businesses, by an increase in returns – and profit is only generated when customers decide to keep their purchases. On average, 14 per cent of all consumer electronic sales are sent back, and in the build-up to Christmas in particular, this can cause all manner of logistical headaches and lost margins.”

Talk to Clear Returns now to help your customers keep more of what they buy – and keep buying.

Jo Swinson joins Clear Returns as Non-Executive Director

Jo Swinson

 

Clear Returns appoints ex Government Minister, Jo Swinson, as Non-Exec Board Director

September, 2015 – Glasgow, UK – Leading retail returns intelligence solution, Clear Returns, today announced the appointment of former Business Minister, Jo Swinson, to its board as a Non-Executive Director.

Clear Returns, a predictive analytics service, was founded to help retailers prevent and minimise product returns, by enabling customers to keep more of what they buy.  Its intuitive use of data allows retailers to predict, identify and act upon high returning products and the triggers behind what is making them prone to refunds.  This means retailers can reduce the margin drain of returns and model their profits more accurately.

As a former Minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Jo brings extensive insight across the key areas which underpin Clear Returns’ business, including marketing, consumer affairs and fulfilment.

Having driven change across the competition landscape, corporate governance, customer rights and postal services during her ministerial tenure, Jo is well placed to advise on key challenges facing businesses and shoppers, and how Clear Returns’ innovative data analysis can provide solutions.  As an architect of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014, which extended consumers’ rights to return goods bought online, Jo brings an inherent understanding of the problems product returns create both for shoppers and retailers.

Commenting on her appointment, Jo said: “The UK is a world leader in ecommerce, with consumers increasingly confident shopping online.  This presents a brilliant opportunity to grow sales, but the increasing rate of product returns represents a hassle factor for consumers and reduced profitability for retailers.  Clear Returns makes it easy for retailers to use returns data to improve business decisions.  Better targeted marketing and early identification of problem products will enable companies to reduce unnecessary costs and be more responsive to their customers.”

Julie Ashworth, Chairperson at Clear Returns said: “As we look to grow the business further, it was important that our next appointment to the Board brought both sound industry insight and strong business acumen, alongside marketing and PR experience.  Jo brings all this and more; no stranger to dealing with the very issues that shape industries, she will be an asset as our business looks to help retailers cut the £400billion problem that returns presents to the retail sector globally. We are delighted to be working with her in her role as a Non-Executive Director to the board.”

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About Clear Returns

Clear Returns enables retailers to cut the growing cost of customer returns, currently running at an average of 30% of multichannel orders in women’s fashion.

Our advanced data intelligence can detect problematic returns before they escalate into a serious cost-draining issue, enabling retailers to take preventative action. We don’t rely on historic data to analyse what went wrong after the event.

Through our solution, retailers can not only identify why customers return goods, but make changes in their product marketing, order management and fulfilment processes that ensure customers keep more of what they buy

Our award winning returns intelligence platform merges key data from ecommerce, stores, and warehouse systems to provide a consolidated and predictive view of the impact of returns on overall performance, along with prioritised, actionable outcomes. This means marketing, customer service, content management and even buying and discounting decisions can be based on intelligence that will grow ‘keeps’ and therefore grow profits.

 

For further press information, please contact Sarah Stevens at Fieldworks Marketing on:

sarah.stevens@fieldworksmarketing.co.uk +44 (0) 1892 786 914

 

Posted by / September 28, 2015 / Posted in News