One in four shoppers avoid buying from international retailers due to concerns around returns, new ESW and Asendia survey reveals

28 March, 2024

Returns News

Press Release 27th March 2024, Paris | Asendia 

Asendia, a global leader in ecommerce and mail solutions, and ESW, leading global direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce company, share the latest insights from Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty. 

Key findings based on data from more than 18,000 respondents in 18 countries show customer expectations regarding the post-purchase journey--particularly regarding cross-border returns--are both high and varied. 

The report highlights a number of key concerns customers have related to shipping and returns, and helps global brands and merchants understand how to meet consumer expectations. 

The report offers insights into consumer sentiment regarding transparency around fees and return policies, charging a returns or restocking fee, and free returns in exchange for a subscription membership. 

Show me the money 

Returns logistics can be challenging and expensive, therefore many retailers have begun implementing return fees in order to claw back costs and deter shoppers from making excessive purchases with the intention of returning most of them. 

Overall, nearly half of consumers said they are willing to make purchases even if there was a nominal returns charge. However, Gen Z was more than 1.7 times more likely to accept a fee than Baby Boomers. Of the countries surveyed, India, UAE, and South Korea were most willing to accept return charges.

Joining the club

27% of respondents said they are inclined to pay for a membership if it means they can return their purchases for free, another 27% would pay return shipping charges. More than four in 10 shoppers in India, China and Mexico would pay a membership fee that includes free returns yet only 15% of UK, German, and Swiss shoppers would pay a membership fee. They would, however, pay for return shipping.

“In today’s global marketplace, a robust cross-border returns strategy isn’t just another box to tick, it’s a strategic imperative. Prioritising a seamless, customer-centric return process enhances satisfaction, builds trust, and ultimately fuels long-term success. Each market is a unique ecosystem, with distinct customer behaviours and preferences”, comments Helen Scurfield, CEO Global Returns, Asendia. 

"By removing the friction from cross-border returns brands can open routes to higher spending and new customers. But global reverse logistics are complex and managing them requires considerable expertise. By partnering with ESW and Asendia, brands and retailers have access to our industry-leading solutions allowing them to enter new markets in a matter of weeks and create exceptional customer experiences that foster brand loyalty and deliver revenue growth”, explains Nick Cranney, Global Logistics & Returns, ESW. 

The report will be discussed by a panel of industry experts in an upcoming webinar, titled Mastering Returns: How Brands and Retailers can succeed in the Customer-Centric Era, launching on 3 April.

To download the report, click here.


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