Science & Technology

Retails risk losing customers due to bad returns experience

The research highlights the power of returns as a customer acquisition and retention tool, and the repercussions of getting them wrong


Retails risk losing customers due to bad returns experience. Source:

Klarna has found that 84% of online shoppers would turn their back on a retailer after a bad returns experience.

With 39% of consumers having done more shopping online since the pandemic, an increased reliance on returns means people’s patience is waning when it comes to clunky or costly returns processes.

In fact, 83% of online shoppers admit to getting frustrated by retailers which have an inefficient returns process, while 82% agree that retailers, in general, need to improve their returns capabilities.

According to the survey, over a third cited slow refund processes as the most frustrating element of returning items bought online, highlighting the importance of flexible payment options. Other frustrations include having to print off return forms when they don’t have a printer (25%), the inconvenience of queuing to return at the post office (23%), and not being able to return items in-store that they’ve bought online (21%).

For those retailers that get returns right, this can serve as a competitive advantage, helping to attract new customers, and boost customer loyalty. 84% of online shoppers agree they’re more likely to buy from while 86% are more likely to come back to online merchants who offer free returns.

However, even a little added inconvenience can come at a cost: 70% of online shoppers state that if a preferred retailer stopped offering free returns, they might not shop with them.

Nobody wants to be out of pocket as a result of items they don’t even choose to keep, so it’s no surprise that slow refund processes are the top frustration factor when it comes to returns. As reliance on returns grows, retailers need to ensure they’re offering a smooth, seamless process that meets the needs of today’s customers - considering everything from effortless logistics to flexible payment options. As our research suggests, those that fail to adapt will lose customers in the long term
Alex Marsh, Head of Klarna UK

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