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Returns Policy a Key Differentiator in UK Market

Presort.com   September 12, 2014    

U.S. retailers looking to do business in the UK market would be wise to have a returns policy that allowed shoppers to be credited back quicker, attendees were told during this summer’s Growing Global conference , hosted by Multichannel Merchant. “One of the biggest irritants for shoppers in the UK is the length of time to get a refund,” said Martin Tully, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for cross-border ecommerce solution provider eShopWorld. “One way U.S. retailers can address that is to set up local or regional return centers. So rather than having shoppers wait 7 to 10 days or more for a refund, they could receive the item, verify from there and generate the refund. It could be a significant advantage.” Tom Forbes, vice president, international for ecommerce delivery management firm Metapack, said UK consumers want to see a range of options for deliveries and returns. “They’re relatively intolerant of a lack of return options, which could be damaging to customer acquisition and retention,” Forbes said. He added things like transparency of return options and the ability to print return labels were key features that should be included. Tully added the new EU directive on consumer rights, which went into effect on June 1, “creates a whole new complexity around returns which only existed in a few European markets like Germany, which already had a high percentage of returns.” Under the policy, EU consumers can return any item within 14 days of purchase for any reason whatsoever. However, retailers aren’t required to pay a premium for expedited returns, but can choose standard shipping. In terms of delivery, Forbes said “it’s worth examining” why the UK has multiple shipping carrier options while the U.S. is dominated by the big three of UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service. Because the multiplicity of UK carriers lowers shipping costs, he said, cross-border merchants are better able to compete with Amazon on price. Forbes also said two major trends in the UK were providing named delivery days for items shipped, and the rise in pickup locker boxes. The locker boxes in particular have proven extremely popular in England. Amazon in June  announced “click and collect” locker stations at two subway locations in London, joining several other retailers, while  eBay this month  is expanding the service to 650 Argos department stores in the UK. Tully said the three most popular retail categories in the UK were clothing, footwear and electronics. In terms of outbound ecommerce, he said British fashion brands have done very well selling into the U.S. market and elsewhere. “They’ve grown popular globally on the back of a very successful Olympics,” he said. The post Returns Policy a Key Differentiator in UK Market appeared first on Multichannel Merchant .

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Returns Policy a Key Differentiator in UK Market