Retailers invest a lot of time and money to create the perfect pre-purchase and checkout experience for their customers. While many studies have been done to identify shopper personas to advise merchants before a sale is made, very little has been done to understand customers by their post-purchase behavior. Returnly set out to solve this problem.
In our 2020 State of Returns report (conducted pre-covid), we analyzed a sample of four million shoppers in the U.S. spanning the top growing direct-to-consumer ecommerce verticals to distill key behavioral insights and identified the preferences and expectations of six key returner personas.
Meet Today’s Return Personas
The “ideal” returner, Loyalists are three times more likely to return items, but buy even more frequently. They account for 39% of revenue and return merchandise undamaged and on-time. This allows brands to restock and remarket returned items at full price. The downside? They’re a rarity making up less than 10% of the customer base.
The Now Returner
The “Now Returner” lives for easy-to-navigate, on-demand shopping experiences. A slow refund process makes online returns stressful for Now Returners, making them more likely to inbound customer support. Making instant gratification and return tracking part of your strategy can turn Now Returners into Loyalists.
The First-Time Returner
Fast to add to cart but slow to buy, these shoppers always scan the returns policy. Offering a liberal returns policy that is easy to find and supported by a fair process can give First-Timers the confidence to buy.
The Lazy Returner
Lazy returners act on their own time, often returning more than three weeks after an order has been delivered, yet they expect brands to right any wrongs quickly and easily. Keep in mind, men are 50% more likely to be Lazy Returners than women.
The Fitting Room Returner
These returners buy multiples of the same item, try them at home, and return what they don’t want. This high rate of returns results in razor-thin gross margins for brands, something particularly challenging for fast-fashion. They place a high value on brands that make returns free, easy, and without penalties.
The Policy Abuse Returner
These shoppers buy with no intention of keeping, using returns as a way to get something they want for free, like free shipping. By partnering with a return solution with a network of data, retailers can protect their business from the financial damage these returners can inflict.
In today’s “instant everything” economy, the ability for online retailers to understand and influence consumer return behavior is critical to ensure profitable growth and keep hard-earned customers happy. After all, the customer is always right, even if their return habits aren’t.
-Eduardo Vilar, Founder & CEO, Returnly