Should retailers pay consumers to keep returns?

The average return costs retailers two-thirds of the original price (ouch!). This is due to factors like labor, freight, and warehouse costs – all invisible to the consumer (minus a package’s tracking information, perhaps). The price tag is astronomical: over $ 66 billion in product returns will flow back into the supply chain.

Give a second life to thrown objects

This statistic is now generating some weirdly fascinating influencer content on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where people open mystery boxes filled with returned items to share what’s inside with a virtual audience. curious. The purpose of the mystery can opener? Catch a coveted (hopefully designer, or at least hard to find, or even much desired) item at a heavily discounted price (and maybe you’ll brag about it to strangers on the internet later).

See also: Mystery Box Subscriptions Solve Inventory Problems with Organized Box Drop Surprises

“Subscription mystery boxes are a smart solution that solves vendor problems by leveraging the exclusive appeal of product drops, as well as the desire to save on the items people want,” PYMNTS wrote in last october.

Perhaps watching someone realize in real time that they now own, say, a Balenciaga trending item when they’ve paid a fraction of the price will continue to fascinate anonymous viewers. Meanwhile, brands like Vogue Business have expressed concerns about how the mystery box movement may erode brand perception. This is because if someone equates an expensive item with a bargain price, it could soon change what consumers are willing to pay for certain things, and why.

A solution to the challenge

Mystery boxes aside, the holiday season is crucial to retailers’ bottom lines, and a botched fourth quarter can prove to be fatal. Add to that the labor shortages or the reduction of higher-cost employees, and the stakes are high whether it’s for department stores, resellers or discounters.

A key solution to ensure that sales are not canceled through consumer feedback? Throw money on the problem. Literally. According to data from PYMNTS 2020, retailers may consider offering consumers discounts for keeping their items instead of returning them.

See also: Round trip of online ordering

One in two (51%) of holiday shoppers would be willing to keep the items they want to return in exchange for a 30% discount. About half – 45% – of holiday shoppers say they would keep an unwanted item for just 10% off.

On that note, consider that most – 63 percent – of buyers say they have returned or plan to return a vacation purchase. One reason may be that more than half of consumers said they shopped for the holiday season without going into a store, so they didn’t have a chance to see or see it. try it in person.

Either way, these results shed some interesting light on what consumers want: convenience – that is, not having to go to the UPS store the week after the holidays to send something back. job. And maybe the willingness to reuse or give something back instead of sending it back where it came from – mystery boxes or whatever.

Read more: round trip of online ordering

Listen to consumers

The most common reason holiday shoppers might choose to return what they bought? The item they purchased was the wrong color, size, or style. This was true for all age groups of consumers – from Generation Z to the elderly. Likewise, nearly one in four consumers returned an item because it had not arrived on time.

Quality issues came second, with Millennials and Bridge Millennials (those between Millennials and Gen X) being the most likely to cite this as a concern.

Call to action for retailers

Creative options and workarounds to combat the surge of Black Friday returns are needed to ensure that the purchases consumers make are the purchases they want to keep. The mystery box movement keeps items circulating in the economy and is perhaps interesting, or at least entertaining, to watch online. What’s remarkable is that it proves that there is a strong consumer demand for pre-liked items at heavily discounted prices.

If the cost of doing business does not include the cost of packing and shipping the items where they come from, the retail industry will thrive rather than survive the holiday season – and all seasons.



On:More than half of American consumers think biometric authentication methods are faster, more convenient, and more reliable than passwords or PINs, so why are less than 10% using them? PYMNTS, working with Mitek, surveyed over 2,200 consumers to better define this perception gap in usage and identify ways in which businesses can increase usage.

About Marion Browning

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