Royal Mail – try before you buy?

Royal Mail has published research suggesting that the average UK online shopper sends one purchase back every month. The same study shows that three in five shoppers would be unlikely to use an online retailer again should they have a poor returns experience.

The greatest factor in the returns experience is the speed of refund (76%), while clearly signposted returns information on the website runs a close second 973%) and clear guidance on which returns labels to use (72%).

Where there is a ‘try before you buy’ offer, 58% of UK online shoppers are more likely to use a retailer. The Royal Mail research also suggested that online shoppers are more likely to purchase more items should such an offer be available (35%). Regarding this offer, 47% those aged 18-34 are more likely to buy more items, falling to 22% for those over 55.

The Royal Mail research suggests the try-before-you-buy offering appeals most in clothing (60%) and footwear (42%). Nationwide, this offering has grown significantly for clothing since 2018.

A spokesperson from Royal Mail said: “With the festive season now over, January is the busiest time of the year for returns. Having a clear, user-friendly returns policy has never been more important. It is a vital part of the online shopping experience. For retailers, ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is key. Over a third of shoppers would purchase more items if a ‘try before you buy’ option was available from a retailer, so it’s important to consider putting such a service at the heart of your returns offering.”

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