Return process makes impression on consumers: Newgistics

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Even with the growing popularity of gift cards, a lot of consumers still end up returning presents after the holidays - 22 percent, according to a new survey from returns management solutions provider Newgistics Inc.

The return process is an important opportunity for retailers to make an impression on consumers, as 80 percent of respondents to the Newgistics survey said they are not likely to shop again with a direct retailer if the return process is inconvenient.

Harris Interactive conducted the fourth annual consumer returns survey from Newgistics, Austin, TX, during Dec. 1-3 with 1,031 adults.

A large majority of U.S. adults - 93 percent - said a convenient return policy and process is somewhat important, important or very important when deciding where to purchase a gift for someone else.

Additionally, 90 percent of adults who have shopped online or through catalogs cite a convenient returns policy as somewhat important, important or very important in encouraging them to shop with a new or unknown online or catalog retailer.

An easy returns process can also play a role in securing customer loyalty, with 89 percent of adults who have shopped online or through catalogs reporting that they are somewhat or very likely to shop with a direct retailer again if the return process is convenient.

The survey also showed that an increasing number of consumers are shopping through direct channels. The number of adults reporting that they have shopped directly - either online or by catalog - was up 2 percent from last year for a total of 79 percent.

In addition, 64 percent of adults plan to shop online or through catalogs between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

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