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Returned Christmas gifts: How to Make The Most of Them?

Season of joy and gift-giving is over, with nearly 40 per cent of consumers visiting the stores to return their holiday gift.1 This might initially sound like a bad end of the deal for your shop, but don’t ring the alarm yet and try to see this as a chance to get ahead the curve. Now, what are the most important facts behind the gift-returning and how can your e-shop profit from this January trend?

Gift-Returning Is A Global Trend

It’s not only your e-shop that is going to feel the post-Christmas toll. According to the estimates, the transportation service UPS provided, almost 62% of their customers would return an item they bought online this year. The rough guess for number of return packages for January is about 4 million.2

Instead of panicking about the losses, try to think of it as an opportunity to show excellent purchase follow-up and customer care to your clients as well as high level of flexibility. Have your customer care staff ready and prepare your gift vouchers and store credits programs. Such proactive approach would be highly appreciated and it may as well win you over many new clients in 2016.

Sometimes Your Customers Just Need To Switch the Color

Not everybody is in it for the money - the reasons behind returning gifts may vary. In the United Kingdom, 45% of shoppers wanted to exchange gifts for a better fitting size or color.3 Meanwhile, the French consumers return Christmas gifts mostly (46%) because they have no use for the item they`ve received.4 Only 34% of French consumers returns gifts because they don’t like them and only 20% because they want the money back.

It's altogether a different story across the ocean. In United States, 32% of shoppers indicated they typically return their Christmas gifts. In tune with the philosophy of “time is money”, 40% of these wants to get their money back.5

Follow The Greats And Don't Be A Scrooge

As you can see, gift returns happen to every shop. Give your customers a chance to change their mind and try to avoid restricting your returns policy. Look at the most successful e-shops: the current Amazon holiday return policy allows for consumers a cost-free return of items, shipped to the consumer between November and December. The offer is valid until the end of January. Walmart will allow returns until January 25 and Best Buy until January 15.6 If Amazon can afford to hold the door open for just a little longer, why shouldn`t you?

Another topic is: should you or shouldn’t you cover the return shipping? While the number of returned items might appear overwhelming, research indicates that 40% of customers will prefer to re-use value of the gift at your shop - either to purchase gift cards (16%), other items (13%) or a store credit (11%). Not such a bad price to pay for keeping a customer, is it?7

According to Shorr Packaging, distributor of packaging to retailers, goods with an original retail value of 19,4 billion USD are expected to be returned this season.8 That is a staggering number – but look at it as an opportunity to prove to your customer that you are a trustworthy retailer who looks after them no matter what. Be vigilant and be prepared – your customers will reward you in the longer run.

If you found this article interesting, you might want to check out our features on the big secret of ultimate customer service and 8 tips for building an excellent e-shop. For growing your customer service tool-kit, try our free three-month trial of Youstice application.

 

1http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2015/12/retailers_tighten_rules_for_re.html

2http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/12/26/christmas-shopping-is-over-now-bring-on-the-deluge-of-gift-returns/

3http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/223m-unwanted-christmas-presents-returned-8340852

4http://lifestyle.boursorama.com/article/que-faire-des-cadeaux-que-vous-n-aimez-pas_a1420/1

5http://www.ibtimes.com/retailers-delivery-companies-scramble-process-holiday-gift-returns-1770216

6http://time.com/money/4160990/the-5-rules-of-holiday-gift-returns/

7http://apparel.edgl.com/news/After-Christmas-Shoppers-Focus-on-Me,-Myself-and-I97400

8http://www.wsj.com/articles/where-your-unwanted-christmas-gifts-get-a-second-life-1451212201

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