Missguided’s view on returns -  there’s lots of room for positive change

On Thursday 22nd April 2021, our CEO, Jason Tavaria, had a ‘fireside chat’ with the Director of Ecommerce at Missguided, Paz Khorana, at the IMRG Virtual Delivery Summit - a prestigious industry event. During this discussion, they delved into how critical returns are during the consumer journey and how the pandemic and the associated increase in online shopping has impacted returns.  

 

To start off the discussion, Paz was asked by Jason what were the real pain points today associated with returns.

To which he responded “Some of the natural pain points for customers are getting a refund as quick as possible and returning the product in a quick, seamless and trackable way. But more importantly from a retailer perspective, it’s having a single view of returns for us. Returns within fashion/clothing retail is higher than most other categories, so it’s very important for the business to grasp a hold of that.”

To support this view, in our recent research ‘Returns. Unpacked’, ‘fashion or clothes’, ‘footwear’, and ‘sports or activewear’ are the clear top three categories people say they are most likely to send back to online retailers. Retailers in these categories should be front of the queue when it comes to offering the best possible returns experience they can to their customers.

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During the discussion, Jason wanted to understand, given the pandemic and the accelerated shift from the high street to online, if Paz saw a further evolution of online returns to emulate the ‘instant’ return customer experience of returning an item to a high street store.

Paz said “Yes absolutely, as customer behaviours change and demographics change, especially with the pandemic, there definitely is that need for speed. Looking at the last 4-5 years where outbound deliveries have gone from standard, to next day then to same day, we’re almost engineering customers to shop and behave in a certain way so I think returns will soon catch up.”

Jason wanted to understand from Paz if the importance of returns has changed specifically for Missguided’s customers given the pandemic.

Paz highlighted “Returns are always going to be important, especially for someone growing up within the digital world. Returns are so important from a conversion perspective… so, all of the stats we look out for show that the better your returns proposition is (e.g. if you have free returns), the higher likelihood of driving customers to your website which then helps us convert...to entice customers to shop with us, returns have to be perfect all the time.”

Our InPost research also demonstrates that returns are seen by consumers as an important piece of the online retail journey, especially the digitally-native group, with 58% of 18-34 year olds saying that returns have become a more important part of their shopping experience during the last 12 months.

The research also demonstrates that returns really do impact the overall customer experience with the retailer, with 86% stating that a poor returns experience will put them off shopping with a retailer again and 83% of online shoppers saying retailers should do more to make the returns process as easy and fuss free as possible.

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Jason went on to ask if Paz thought consumers are open to change and to trying new services when it comes to returns.

Paz responded “From both an economic and sustainability perspective, there’s lots of room for positive change within returns. Especially going paperless with InPost (via Instant Returns) and being one of the first to do so, that was really positive for us. Not only from a convenience perspective but also giving the customer that extra step change in a way that ultimately serves them better - that then allows them to attach and stick to our brand which drives repeat purchases and loyalty.”

Our Returns.Unpacked research highlighted that online shoppers were looking for more customer friendly returns options, with 55% of online shoppers trying a new method of returning goods during the pandemic and 1/3 saying that they are unlikely to go back to their old way of returning their online shopping.

 

Finally, the last question of the session from Jason was to understand how Paz felt returns would look, from an ecommerce perspective, in the next 5 years.

“Quicker, faster, more enhanced visibility and more sustainability. Returns have gradually got better and I think that’s going to be the continuing trend here.”

With some optimistic signs of recovery on the horizon, now is a good opportunity to look at how the pandemic has changed the expectations and habits of consumers. It’s obvious that the pandemic has accelerated our reliance on online retail and therefore on the returns processes that retailers have in place. 

Now is the time for innovative, sustainable and customer-friendly returns (and delivery) options to be put front and centre as a way to really impact the customer experience and build loyalty. 

 

Missguided were one of the first retailers to start using our Instant Returns service, which has been a game-changer for returns - allowing customers to return their items in ten seconds without having to print a label, in a completely contact-free way. 

Could it get any easier? Find out more here.

 

To watch the full video of our session at the IMRG Delivery Summit, just complete the form below.

 

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