Why are retail returns such a great conversation starter? I start by telling someone about my new job at Clear Returns and invariably receive a response such as “You should speak to my mum, she orders stuff constantly, keeps nothing, returns the lot”. It seems everyone knows someone who is a serial returner.
Customer-focused retailers have educated and incentivised this behaviour, with free shipping and returns and direct mail campaigns with sales, promotions and voucher codes. Now they are waking up to 1 in 3 items being returned and all the associated loss of profit margin, operational costs and fluctuating stock levels.
When I talk to my friends about their online shopping intent, they reflect back the shopping behaviours retailers have encouraged:-
“When I buy from ASOS, I’ll buy much more than I’m intending to keep as if you spend over a certain amount, you get free delivery. And I like trying it on – even though I don’t keep it!”
“Emails with extra discount always good….Nike are great for it. Usually order a couple of sizes as can’t be bothered doing an exchange. Order much more than I ever keep!”
“I’ve just bought a dress for black tie event – ordered 6, kept 1”
“I also buy items in different sizes, and return some/all. I’m a sucker for a sale.”
Lesley, High Wycombe
“Love click & collect too! To return stuff. Won’t buy if returns not free”
For some customers though, returns are just an inconvenience-
“I buy everything online and usually not more than one of the same thing cause I hate having to go to the post office to return it.”
But there are also products that customers never, or rarely return-
Ever return beauty stuff? “Nope because I always buy the same brands”
“Homewares is a different scenario altogether. You know exactly what you’re going to get cause you’ve seen it in nearly every shop but can’t be bothered carrying it around. Home-wares 0% return”
Now imagine, a retailer having this level of insight on every customer who buys online. Instead of marketing campaigns focusing on sales only, products can be targeted to the customers that will keep them. Because it’s not a sale until the customer keeps it.
Using big data analytics, Clear Returns matches customers to the products that they keep, reducing returns and saving profit margins. Clear Returns can predict, before the point of purchase, the likelihood of the customer keeping the product with 96% accuracy.
So not only will the retailers reduce costly returns but they will increase personalisation, improve the lifetime value of their customers and ensure that stock is available for the customers that will keep what they buy.
Senior Account Manager
Tel: 0141 554 4175