Are Return Shipping Fees Scaring Away Your Customers?

Apparently, I'm not the only one who finds return shipping fees kind of annoying, because according to a new survey by ShopRunner, 81 percent of online shoppers are "not likely" to make repeat purchases from retailer that charge for return shipping.

The poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive and was made up of 3,036 adult consumers in the U.S to find out what drives online shopping today.

Not only did ShopRunner uncover that the vast majority of consumers won't return after being charged for return shipping, but 69 percent of them said that returning items purchased online is "a complicated process" altogether, fees or not.

This data is in line with another study from this past September by Washington and Lee University that found that return shipping policies have a significant impact on customer spending and loyalty over a period of four years. When asked to pay for their own returns, customers decreased their spending with that retailer from between 75 to a complete 100 percent within two years of the return. However, those that were offered free return shipping increased spending with those retailers between 158 and an astounding 457 percent.

ShopRunner's survey also ventured into other areas of interest for online retailers. For instance, it found that well over half (67 percent) of online consumers said they "would purchase more online" from either their computers or mobile devices if they could use the same secure and simple checkout procedure across all websites. This, of course, opens the door for services like PayPal to step in and ensure greater convenience and comfort for these shoppers.

In addition, and unsurprisingly, ShopRunner and Harris noted that shoppers really value quick delivery, with 77 percent of the respondents saying that they would spend more online, and thus less in stores, if ecommerce sites offered free one-to-two day shipping. But for 65 percent of shoppers, faster free shipping would actually cause them to procrastinate and put off confirming a purchase for longer than usual, as it allows them more time to make informed decisions without greatly adding to the delay in receiving their item(s).

Conveniently, ShopRunner, a shopping services solution provider, recently expanded its line of online shopping services, which already let retailers offer fast, free and unlimited two-day shipping. Now, users can also take advantage of free return shipping with the ReturnRunner solution, and a fast, secure two-click checkout solution called PayRunner.