On the heels of National Returns Day, Newmine was interviewed by Retail TouchPoints to identify 4 Last-Minute Tips To Mitigate Holiday Returns Challenges. Read the excerpt below to learn more.
2. Find The Balance Between Generous And Strict: Take Incremental Steps To Changing Returns Policies
In recent years, the advent of “fast and free” shipping caused shopper expectations to skyrocket, and forced retailers to adjust their fulfillment and reverse logistics capabilities accordingly. But as retailers realize how these offerings can spread their resources thin and deliver massive profitability hits, some have pulled back on their fulfillment efforts. For example, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond all shortened their return policies in some manner during the holiday season.
This of course poses a problem, since consumers are now used to having longer return time windows. Retailers now must handle a balancing act, juggling the cost to having a too-generous returns policy with the potential consumer backlash of a too-strict policy.
“First [long, free return policies were] a differentiator and now it’s about making yourself equal to the big players,” said Mark Lightbody, Partner at Newmine in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The pendulum shifted all the way from one side, where you did it on the retailer’s terms, to fast, free, easy. Consequently, you cannot just pull that pendulum back. The market won’t buy it.”
Lightbody explained that retailers must keep taking incremental steps in whichever direction they choose to move, to ensure that consumers both won’t abuse the process or be turned off entirely. For example, LL Bean ended its lifetime return policy in February 2018, replacing it with a one-year returns policy.
“Now you’re seeing retailers that say ‘we’ll give you a 60-day period for returns instead of a 30-day period,” Lightbody said. “It’s a gradual move to try to bring some sanity back to returns. You never know how shoppers are going to react. It’s a push and a pull.”
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