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The retailer returns time bomb

Pile of returned products

Barclaycard has released research that suggests retailers are struggling to cope with the volume of refund requests they have to grant, despite items then being unfit for re-sale. 

Barclaycard surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and found that 57% of retailers grant refunds regardless of the condition of the product, to maintain a positive relationship with their customers. Overall, it's estimated that 26% of the refunds are for goods that can't be re-sold, when you exclude faulty or damaged stock.

As a result, retailers warehouses are gradually filling up with unsellable items, including used, damaged or products with components missing. This is beginning to have a significant financial impact with 22% of retailers working on the introduction of new systems to dispose of stock they simply cannot resell. This includes partnering with other companies to re-sell the products, or moving the items to a warehouse dedicated to store unwanted goods.

Meanwhile, despite the already high levels of returns, consumers are still demanding more from retailers return processes as almost 40% keep unwanted products due the hassle in having to return them.

37% of retailers admit that they do not offer free returns as a way to discourage shoppers from returning non-faulty items and a  further 12% have stopped offering this service due to the high costs involved.

Barclaycard customer solutions director Sharon Manikon said “Our research demonstrates that offering a good returns policy can help retailers attract and retain customers. However, it’s also crucial to be clear on when customers can and can’t return items to limit the amount of unsellable stock. This will be particularly important in anticipation of major shopping events such as Black Friday, when retailers are likely to see a spike in sales and, subsequently, returns.”

Source: Insight DIY Team

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20 October 2016

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.
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