The rise of mobile returns

By Natalie Joy

January 13, 2022

Today’s consumers have enthusiastically embraced mobile eCommerce. In fact, it’s a mobile-first world — we’re just living in it!

Brands have caught on, offering more ways for customers to tap and click their way to instant buying satisfaction and an endless stream of home deliveries. When transactions go well, it’s a win-win, but retailers often fail to recognize the importance of preparing for those transactions that wind up with dissatisfied customers who want to return products.

We’ve all been there on the consumer side. That t-shirt that popped up in a social media ad arrives and winds up being the wrong size or just not what we expected, and now, we’re faced with a return.

Hopefully, the retailer makes it easy, but often, returning something to an online merchant is a lot like hopping right into a rabbit hole of confusion and inconvenience. It’s not surprising to learn that 91% of American online shoppers said they “only rarely” or “never” return things they buy online in a 2018 NPR/Marist survey.

At first glance, it may seem like good news that the vast majority of online buyers refrain from making online returns. In the long run, however, customer loyalty is at stake.

To stay competitive and relevant in the minds of modern customers, mobile returns must be a top priority for your brand. Ideally, the return process should be as seamless as the buying process. Done well, mobile returns can even become part of a fresh approach to driving engagement and repeat sales.

How we got here: the evolution of mobile commerce

It’s mind-boggling to reflect on how much the mobile commerce sector has evolved over a relatively short period. Consider these stats:

  • In 2021, nearly 73% of all retail eCommerce is expected to be generated via mobile commerce, up from 58.9% in 2017

  • By the end of 2021, mobile commerce sales were projected to reach $3.56 trillion (a whopping 22.3% more than industry watchers expected)

  • In Q3 2021 alone, U.S. eCommerce sales increased by 6.8%

  • Industry watchers expect 95% of all retail sales to be conducted through eCommerce in 2024

  • Almost three out of every four dollars spent on online purchases originate on mobile, a rate that is accelerating

As we move ahead in our mobile-first world, it’s essential to consider product returns under the umbrella of mobile commerce:

Mobile commerce includes the use of wireless handheld devices like mobile phones and tablets to do things like pay bills online, book transportation and reservations, handle virtual transactions, and to make and return retail purchases.

The rise of “social commerce”

While using social media to research a product ahead of purchasing is a well-established consumer trend, more customers today are turning to social media as a full, social commerce shopping experience.

Tools like Facebook and Instagram Marketplace empower consumers to make purchases in-app instead of directly purchasing from online retailers. The convenience of making a purchase without leaving a social media app is clearly impacting eCommerce:

Consumers respond to user-friendly return policies and procedures

When consumers buy products on mobile, they prefer to return them on mobile — sounds pretty fair to us. Large retailers market their no-hassle return policies for good reason: Today’s consumers expect this convenience and respond positively when these policies are in place. Buying with confidence is highly correlated to simple, efficient return policies.

On its website, Splitit—a payment solutions brand—notes the growing importance of eCommerce product returns. The company’s recent consumer survey revealed that overall customer experience is directly related to good return policies and directly impacts web conversion.

It’s common sense, really. Why buy from a company that makes it harder to return products than a competitor does?

Return Rabbit streamlines the mobile return process

Here’s the good news. It’s easy to improve your brand’s mobile return process with Return Rabbit. Imagine offering an Amazon-like returns experience where customers can click a button and start a return (or better yet, an exchange) in seconds.

Return Rabbit offers benefits like a revenue-retaining and exchange-first approach, a completely customizable portal, and access to our super-smart recommendation engine. How smart is it, you ask? Smarter than your average bunny. REX actually leverages customer buying behavior to provide perfect product recommendations more likely to encourage exchanges over returns.

Ready to hop to it? Watch a Return Rabbit demo, get excited, and reach out to get started.

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