Royal Mail research reveals online shopping behaviors

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Research conducted by Royal Mail has shown that consumers in the UK have developed certain behavioral traits when buying and returning goods online. The research was conducted to coincide with the postal operator’s new Tracked Returns service that allows shoppers to easily print off a returns label and monitor the progress of their item back to the retailer.

The four main behavioral traits are: the returns addict – someone who orders online frequently, safe in the knowledge that they can return products for free if they are unsatisfied; the duplicate dealer – shoppers who order the same items of clothes in multiple sizes to ensure the best fit; the bargain hunter – generally young city dwellers aged from 18 to 34 who continue to look for the best deal online even after a product has arrived; and the swap shoppers – who use easy online returns to change unwanted gifts.

The research also showed that when it comes to choosing an online retailer, free returns is a key factor for shoppers with 73% admitting that they would expect free returns as standard. A further 34% said they would be very unlikely to use an online retailer again if they were charged to send unwanted items back.

Nick Landon, managing director, Royal Mail Parcels, said, “The internet is one big shop front, letting people anywhere in the country get their hands on anything they want. So it’s no surprise that a range of different smart shopping behaviors have developed in the online environment over time.

“Consumers are more and more comfortable with online purchasing which means they are starting to dictate how they want the process to work from free returns to buying multiple sizes. We hope this research, and our new easy to use returns portal, will help online retailers to satisfy the evolving needs of this online community.”

April 8, 2015

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Helen has worked for UKi Media & Events for nearly a decade. She joined the company as assistant editor on Passenger Terminal World and since progressed to become editor of five publications, covering everything from aviation, logistics and e-commerce to meteorology. She has a love for travel and property and has redeveloped three houses in three years. When she’s not editing magazines, she’s running around after her two boys and their partner in crime, Pete the pug.

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