Managing Multi-channel Returns: The Low Down

July 29, 2015

Customers appreciate an easy product returns process, and multi-channel returns can be a huge selling point.

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High volumes of product returns are nothing new in direct retailing.

Catalogue shoppers have been sending back unwanted purchases for decades. Online shopping has simply given the quantities a massive boost.

Even more so than (July 29, 2015)’s catalogue user, today’s multi-channel shopper expects product returns to be really, really easy.

Many of them order in the full expectation of returning some purchases as unwanted.

Two out of five online fashion shoppers buy the same item in multiple sizes, seeking the garment with the best fit.

Plan for more returns, not fewer.

The rocket-fuelled rise in online shopping is set to continue for years to come.

Two-thirds of retailers expect their online sales to grow in the 12 months ahead.

More sales mean more returns. One footwear retailer says one in three pairs is returned. Some sectors see return rates of up to 50%.

Take the pain out of the returns process, for customers and yourself.

Create a truly multi-channel solution by allowing shoppers to use the buying and returning routes most convenient to them. Allow goods to be delivered to, or returned from, their front door or another location, such as your stores.

One in ten people don’t buy online because they’re worried they’ll be stuck with a garment that’s the wrong size, and six out of ten say this fear holds them back from buying more.


Convert product returns into competitive advantage.

People buy from businesses they know and trust. Make their first purchase and return a satisfying experience and they’re more likely to come back again.

Your returns policy can help you stand out. One in six people say they only buy online when returns are free. Some say that allowing customers to keep items for longer can reduce return rates.



  • Product returns are nothing new, so make them as easy as possible
  • And they’re here to stay, so plan for more returns, not less
  • Make the most of multi-channel and allow shoppers more flexible returns across your channels
  • Use your customer-centric returns policy as a way to stand out from the crowd

Online retailers expect more competition in the future. Optimising your multi-channel solutions and your strategy for returns could become a key differentiator in your favour.

Download our free eGuide now: The death of the high street? 

Originally posted on the Sanderson Multichannel blog

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