Easy returns, while costly to retailers, are becoming an increasingly important element when it comes to achieving e-commerce success. Companies such as Amazon.com and Zappos have raised consumers' expectations when it comes to processing returns. Other retailers are faced with the option of matching levels of service or being viewed as less customer friendly. The latest retailer to up its game when it comes to returns, albeit quietly, is Apple.
According to StellaService, via Reuters, Apple has cut the amount of time it takes to process returns and offer refunds to its online customers from an average of 10 days to under a week. The company has been using FedEx's 2Day service instead of regular ground shipping to speed returns to its distribution centers. Apple, according to the news service, is not charging customers extra for the expedited shipping.
"This is the first time we're seeing an investment like this on the returns side," Kevon Hills, vice president of research at StellaService, told Reuters.
According to the 2013 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper survey, 62 percent of consumers who purchased goods online had a return in 2013, up from 51 percent in 2012. Sixty-seven percent of consumers said they would shop more often at a retailer if returns were made easier. Forty-eight percent said they would no longer shop at a site that made returns more difficult.
How much attention do consumers pay to the time it takes to get a refund from a retailer when it comes to purchasing items online?