British consumers stick with traditional parcel returns options

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A new survey conducted by independent research firm Opinion Matters revealed the different shopping behaviors of customers in the UK ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday’s delivery rush.

The Many Happy Returns research, commissioned by software-as-a-service (SaaS) parcel data management platform NetDespatch, was undertaken to understand how consumer habits are governed by ease and convenience of returns and whether the widening of returns methods had resulted in a change in consumer returns behavior. The research examined male versus female opinion, age demographics and working status. 

Out of the 1,200 people surveyed, students were shown to be the biggest returner of goods with 50% of respondents returning anywhere between 11% and 25% of purchases. Moreover, 42% of students stated that they would only purchase from a retailer with a free returns policy and who made it easy to return goods.

Findings also showed that traditional locations for returning items are the most popular with consumers with 78% of those surveyed choosing to return items via Post Office outlets. More modern returns options such as collect from work were surprisingly low with only 8% of those surveyed having used this option, whilst 5.5% chose to use a locker box and a mere 4% of those surveyed using railway stations for returns. When asked what would be their preferred returns option, 12% of respondents chose a click-and-collect option such as a local convenience store, garage, railway station or locker. 

Matthew Robertson, commercial director, NetDespatch, said, “The results from the survey clearly highlight the pressing need for retailers to further educate consumers about all the different returns options that are now available to them. At NetDespatch we believe that this lack of understanding around returns means that consumers are opting for the more traditional options, which are not always the most convenient or practical. In today’s 24/7 world, surely waiting at home for a courier to collect a parcel is time that consumers would prefer spending on more productive tasks. 

“With the growth of cross-border e-commerce, investing in this area is essential for SMEs and bigger businesses alike. Many consumers are just becoming aware of the opportunities to buy outside the UK. Retailers need to offer broader options to allow these items to safely arrive in the country, and in good time, especially around shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday and with Christmas fast approaching.” 

To obtain a full copy of the Many Happy Returns report click here.

November 25, 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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