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New study spotlights Post Office as the UK’s preferred returns point

By Sasha Fedorenko July 8, 2019 - 12:33 pm

Post Office is the preferred location to return unwanted items amongst the UK shoppers, says new study released today by Whistl.

Some 44% of the polled UK shoppers say they chose Post Office as a convenient returns point in the UK. This is followed by 25% of the respondents citing collection from work and home as their preferred method to return goods.

When it comes to other quoted delivery suppliers, 17% of the surveyed shoppers name Collect + as their go-to place to give back unwanted products. Some 14% of UK clientele voted for myHermes partner as their choice of returns location.

The report attributes the popularity of the Post Office to the ease of access. It says that UK shoppers chose Parcel Drop because of the wider opening times window. Collection from home and work was driven by the avoidance of travel and return to the store as well as the convenience of no packing.

When looking at the type of items returned, collect from home was popular for electronic equipment, appliances and furniture; store return for toys and clothes and Parcel Drop for electronic accessories, garden and pet products.

Respondents were asked about their willingness to pay for returns which could suggest there is scope for sellers to consider charging for returns if the purchase falls into one of the following categories:

  1. 67% – The delivery was free
  2. 49% – Item was from an independent retailer
  3. 45% – Discounted/ sale price
  4. 45% – Bulky or heavy item
  5. 37% – Purchase from abroad
  6. 33% – Discontinued item
  7. 24% – Purchased during peak sale periods

The price paid for the item does not appear to have an impact on the amount people are willing to pay for its return.

However, the more they paid for the initial delivery, the higher the price customers are expecting to pay for the return. If customers get the item delivered for free most of them expect to be able to return it for free and the expectation of free delivery increases with age.

This news highlight encouraging findings for online merchants. Consumers do not always want something for nothing and are willing to pay to return an item if it makes their life easier.

Sellers should consider working with a supplier who can develop a comprehensive returns policy that reflects the consumers’ attitude to payment for returns which may help maximise potential profit.

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