Retail Technology Makes Anytime, Anywhere Shopping Easy. But What About Returns?

A woman looking dissatisfied on the product she purchased online

Retail technology allows shoppers to browse products, add to cart, change quantities, choose their payment options and select their shipping preferences all with a single click.

With physical distancing, stay-at-home orders, and limited business hours due to COVID-19, convenient one-click shopping and automated delivery are now essential services retailers must provide.

According to the SOTI industry report, From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report, 63% of consumers say returning items isn’t as easy as buying them and has become a major pain point for consumers over the past year. If retailers want to thrive in the current landscape and post-pandemic world, retailers must focus on improving the returns process, making it as seamless and easy as possible.

A Global Frustration That’s Leading to Lost Revenue

Despite COVID-19, sales over the Christmas/holiday 2020 season grew by 49% in volume in the U.S., 45% in the UK and a whopping 60% in Germany.

Yet, e-commerce providers left money on the table. That’s because 59% of shoppers globally said they would have spent even more if retailers made returning products as fast and as automated as making the purchase itself:

  • Canada: 65% of consumers want retailers to make returns faster and easier for them.

  • Sweden: 53% say the retail industry should use or invest in technology to simplify the returns component of the online shopping experience.

  • Germany: Germans are very tech-savvy when it comes to retail technology, but 50% still say returning purchases isn’t as easy or automatic as it should be.

Consumers do not want to physically return online purchases. Nor do they want retailers to simply refund their money while allowing them to keep an item they are not satisfied with.

Instead, they want technology they are already familiar with when buying goods to be available when returning them. And they are making a conscious decision to take their business elsewhere if that isn’t the case.

Consumers Want to Shop Online and Return Products Online. Retailers Who Offer Both Are At A Competitive Advantage…and SOTI Can Help

The technology organizations utilize to help customers make purchases can also be used when customers want to return items back to the retailer.

For example, real-time geolocation technology (available in SOTI MobiControl, part of the SOTI ONE Platform) can be utilized to alert a nearby driver when a customer would like to make a return.

The SOTI report, From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report, identifies opportunities for retailers to grow their consumer base and bottom line.

It also provides a deep dive into the future of retail from the most important perspective there is: the customers.

It’s a must-read report for any retailer – in any country – looking to proactively invest in the retail technology trends their customers want.