Newmine interviews retail and supply chain expert Rich McMahon to explore why he thinks retailers need to think differently about product returns.
WWD: The Four Personas of Serial Returners
Retailers are starting to ban customers who they deem return excessively–Newmine thinks there’s a better way. WWD published our Think Tank on how to use data analytics to size up Serial Returners, personalize their return journey, and reduce their harmful impact to your business.
Statista estimates that return deliveries alone will cost $550 billion by 2020, and that doesn’t include the labor and disposition costs. It’s no surprise that retailers are starting to fight back against rising returns, with some retailers instituting an outright ban of customers who return what they deem to be excessive amounts.
Those customers are known as the dreaded “Serial Returners.”
Banning a serial returner impacts more than that individual customer. It diminishes the overall brand value and makes your customers angry — or worse, afraid to shop with you. The result is that customers become wary and unsure of how retailers define returns exploitative behavior. One typical comment on Yelp: “A consumer shouldn’t have to calculate their return behaviors in order to maintain their shopping freedom.”
We agree and believe that there are better alternatives to address Serial Returners than instituting draconian return policies that cut off those who exploit lax return policies from future purchases. The ability to identify who they are and why they return is an opportunity to learn and grow as a business. Analyzing their behavior is the first step to discouraging exploitative behavior without sacrificing customer experience and is an important component of overall returns reduction.