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Customers favour stores for returns finds study

UK consumers have a clear preference to return unwanted gifts in-store, rather than through other channels, according to a survey by Qmatic.

More than half (52 per cent ) of those who expressed a preference said they would choose to return the products to a manned returns desk in a physical store.

Qmatic UK managing director Vanessa Walmsley says retailers should implement strategies to convert this increased footfall into additional post-Christmas sales.

“We saw in our survey that, after Christmas, shoppers prefer to exchange or return unwanted gifts in-store rather than through postal collection services, manned drop off points and automated lockers. Retailers have traditionally not been overly keen on the returns process, with all-important sales cancelled out and cash handed over for merchandise that may not even be in saleable condition. However, the preference for consumers to come into stores to return items offers retailers a valuable potential sales opportunity, turning the exchange or refund into a positive engagement with the customer,” says Walmsley.

“It is critical that retailers make the returns process as straightforward as possible for the customer. Many retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, have built their reputations for excellent customer service, partly based on the ease of customers returning unwanted items. Creating a frictionless, seamless returns process may not only help retailers to increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, but may also enable them to convert these returns to sales.”

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