Europe counts an increase of 8% in the number of returns this year when comparing it to the same period as last year. Simultaneously, free shipping has also risen by 3%. At the same time, sales during short-term promotions have increased by 29%.
These findings come from research done by DynamicAction’s Retail Index: Spring 2019. Online consumer transactions from the beginning of 2019 until the 15th of April were analysed. Of these, the total amount came to almost 11 billion euros. The research shows a growing trend from consumers to buy multiple products online with the intent of returning some items.
Free shipping increases returns
The rise of 3% in free shipping can be explained by the actions of online retailers. They are looking for a way to attract customers in order to keep up with their competition. However, major online retailers such as Zalando and H&M are now trying to back out of free delivery. Strategies such as site-wide promotions or one-day sales are the reason for the 29% rise in sales during short-term promotions. The study shows that this is especially noticeable during (short) holidays such as Valentine’s Day.
According to the managing director EMEA, Michael Patterson, it is important for retailers to find the balance between the impact to their bottom line and consumer convenience. The lifetime profitability needs to be prioritised over immediate sales. This to ensure that consumer expectations (that keep on increasing) do not get in the way of overall profits.