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Retail environment

Return to sender as Christmas marks the rise in serial returners

Barclaycard is prepared for an increase in ‘serial returners’ - those who deliberately over-purchase and return unwanted items - over Christmas.

Barclaycard estimates that some 30 per cent of survey respondents to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday survey classed themselves as serial returners.

While one in five said that they order multiple versions of the same item to make their mind up at home, more than half of retailers said that dealing with serial returners has a negative impact on the day-to-day running of their business. 

Online retailers are the retailers most affected, with 3 in 10 claiming that managing the returns process has an impact on their profit margin. A fifth have even introduced new procedures to cope with stock that they cannot resell. 

However, 89 per cent of retailers acknowledge that a good returns policy is important to customers - as a result, merchants are stuck between accommodating shopper demands and balancing their bottom line, with 57 per cent giving refunds regardless of product condition to maintain positive relationships with customers. 

Sharon Manikon, director of customer solutions at Barclaycard, commented: “More than any other time of the year, retailers need to be prepared for high volumes of both purchases and returns during Black Friday. 

“To capitalise and stand out from the competition, retailers need to not only focus on drawing consumers in with seasonal bargains, but also ensure that they have a clear and flexible returns policy. Those that balance these competing demands will be able to meet customer expectations without impacting their own bottom line.”

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