Narvar Returns Study Finds Shoppers Opt For Convenience and Predictability During Pandemic
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New research from Narvar, an intelligent customer engagement platform, illustrates how COVID-19 has affected consumer behavior and expectations, particularly around deliveries, returns and omnichannel shopping, in ways that will be long-lasting and influence loyalty. The report, "State of Returns: New Expectations," analyzes the sentiments of online shoppers in the U.S. market.
Predictability has emerged as a top priority for consumers, to the point they are willing to pay for guarantees.
COVID-19 has clearly accelerated some shopping behaviors, while slowing others. Consumers have been forced to shift towards online shopping to the tune of $107 billion across nearly every category, learned to plan around reduced availability of products and restricted services, and managed safety concerns. The study found that over half (56%) of consumers tried a new retailer during the pandemic. While certain trends, like curbside pickups, printerless returns and bracketing, have become more popular with shoppers during this time, others, like demand for proactive communication around deliveries and refunds, have remained constant, indicating the shape of the shopping xperience moving forward.
Predictability has emerged as a top priority for consumers, to the point they are willing to pay for guarantees, either on an ad hoc basis or as part of a subscription. Around one-third of shoppers (31%) would pay up to $5 for same-day or scheduled delivery services, while almost a quarter (22%) are willing to pay the same amount for scheduled pickup of returns from their homes.
Convenience is also essential, and shoppers report being receptive to additional fees of up to $5 for services like return packaging. Both demand for and actual usage of alternative return locations, like pharmacies and lockers, has nearly doubled since last year. Customers who made their last return that way cited convenience of location, business hours, and the ability to consolidate other errands in the same trip as top reasons for their choice.
"Brand loyalty has been disrupted as consumers experiment with other retailers amid uncertain circumstances," said Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar. "Now is the time for retailers to retain both new and repeat customers by providing a convenient experience that preserves predictability in these unsettled times, especially when it comes to delivery promise and returns."
Additional findings from the study include:
The returns experience is critical to retention — and communication is a key element.
When it comes to return labels, no printer, no problem.
Shoppers rely on "bracketing" due to weight fluctuations, lack of access to stores, and experimentation with new retailers.
The complete report is available at Narvar.com/state-of-returns-new-expectations.
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