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Consumers Turn To Stores Over Online For Returns

Although a growing number of consumers prefer to shop online, a new survey from Retale reported that a majority prefer to return or exchange gifts in-store.

In fact, 70 percent of survey participants said they prefer to return or exchange gifts in-store; only 9 percent reported preferring to return them online. The remaining 21 percent had no preference. Consumers cited the perceived convenience of returning or exchanging in stores as reason to go to the physical store instead of the website. Holiday returns and exchanges are a key time for retailers getting customers back in stores during the post-holiday lull, particularly because 21 percent on consumers reported they’d be returning or exchanging at least one holiday gift.

“Over the years, retailers have taken steps to make the return process as easy as possible, including receipt-free returns and even curb side pick-up,” said Pat Dermody, president of Retale. “Retailers have also gotten better at allowing customers to buy online and return in a physical store. They recognize the desire to move seamlessly from one channel to another and most have adjusted their processes to be able to make that happen for customers.”

When asked about convenience of in-store versus online, 62 percent reported the option was convenient, with 21 percent reporting the opposite. When looking at online returns, 45 percent of those surveyed reported it being convenient as opposed to the 38 percent who said it was inconvenient. In that same survey, 85 percent of respondents believe physical stores should accept returns and exchanges of gifts purchased online.

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