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Online Shoppers Want Easy Return Policies

Study finds return convenience, shipping speed to be top factors in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

While many eBay sellers are fuming over new requirements for lenient return policies, speedy delivery and tracking capability in order to retain top-seller benefits, a new comScore study suggests that eBay may have the right idea.

Convenient return policies appear to be a leading factor in converting shoppers into buyers. According to the comScore study, which was commissioned by UPS, 63 percent of online shoppers look at the merchant’s return policy before making a purchase. And nearly half say they would shop again and recommend a seller with a lenient return policy.

Shipping flexibility is also important to online shoppers, with a third reporting that they often choose to pay more to get faster delivery. More than 40 percent say they expect to see the availability of two- to three-day delivery, while 48 percent say they are unwilling to wait more than five days for a package to arrive. What’s more, 42 percent say they have abandoned their shopping carts over estimated delivery time.

Providing tracking capability for shipments could give merchants a boost, with 46 percent of online shoppers saying they would recommend an online retailer if packages arrived when expected.

“While free shipping has tended to dominate the discussion regarding what provides satisfaction to online shoppers, the study shows there are several other factors critical to a positive online shopping experience,” notes Susan Kleinman, comScore’s director. “Retailers need a holistic understanding of these drivers if they hope to stimulate sales while maintaining healthy margins in this competitive retail environment.”

The comScore study draws data from an online focus group held in January, and a February survey of more than 3,100 U.S. online shoppers.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Wow! Remember mail order’s standard “4 – 6 weeks for delivery”?
    How far we have ventured 🙂 



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