'Serial returners' are hindering growth of UK's business

‘Serial returners’, or people that frequently return goods purchased online, are a serious obstacle for growth among UK’s retailers, new research finds.

According to the research, released by Barclaycard, 31 per cent of retailers claim serial returners have had an impact on their bottom line in the last 12 months.

Despite these findings, the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, and spending in digital channels has grown 14.1 per cent compared to the year before. Spending in-store has grown just 1.1 per cent in the same timeframe.

Shoppers are choosing where to buy, depending on the retailer’s return policy (58 per cent of cases), and 47 per cent wouldn’t even buy an item if they had to pay for the return.

The research claims people usually buy things without the intention of keeping them (30 per cent). For example, a person might buy the same T-shirt in different sizes, and keep just the one that fits (19 per cent).

“Today’s time-pressed shopper expects the process to be fast, easy and free – and that applies to both buying goods as well as returning them. Faced with more choice than ever before, alongside a range of different clothing and shoe sizes, it’s hardly surprising that this new breed of online shopper – the serial returner – is starting to emerge,” said Sharon Manikon, Director of Customer Solutions at Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance.

For 57 per cent of retailers claim handling returns has a negative impact on their business, and a third covers the risk by either charging for the shipping, or increasing the price of the item.

More than a fifth (22 per cent) of brick and mortar retailers chose not to sell online in the first place, just because of the returns.

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