Over a third of Americans have switched from a brand they were loyal towards specifically to avoid paid returns 

March 22 2023, Indianapolis, USA – Over a third (34%) of Americans have switched from a brand they were once loyal to due to the introduction of paid returns, according to the latest research from SAP Emarsys.  

The study, released ahead of the Shoptalk retail tradeshow, reveals that 22% of US consumers actively describe the introduction of returns charges as “unfair”; 18% have even thrown away an unwanted item after failing to return it.

With 74% of those surveyed relying on returns that aren’t in-person at the store, product lifecycles have become a major issue for customer loyalty in 2023. * Almost half (40%) of shoppers have abandoned a brand they were once loyal to due to the returns window being shortened.  

As a result, and with around a quarter (23%) demanding changes to return policies as well as delivery and packaging practices, retailers are rethinking. So far in 2023, a third (32%) of retailers have started to invest in improving their delivery processes. Almost the same proportion (33%) are also investing in more sustainable packaging. 

“From discovery, to purchase, to shipping, to receipt both in-store and online, brands risk diminished reputations placing hurdles in front of their customers”, commented Megan Hostetler, Global Senior Product Marketing Manager, SAP Emarsys. “It’s not enough to have the right product at the right price; complete transparency every step of the way, and solutions that reflect customer preference when problems do arise, are a must.” 

“Returns are a powerful opportunity for brands to build loyalty, both in terms of collecting data and gaining trust,” continued Hostetler. “Retail brands that get it right build higher customer lifetime value, receive fewer returns, and elevate that all-important customer experience; ultimately delivering on the promises made to customers is what drives true customer loyalty.” 

“With SAP supporting 95% of retail businesses globally, Emarsys is in a unique position to connect front and back office for customers like Puma, Savers, and Reformation.” 

SAP Emarsys will be attending Shoptalk in Las Vegas from March 26 to 29 at booth 1357/1355, where attendees can find out more about this research and uncover why an omnichannel strategy is the solution for retailers facing customer loyalty issues.