Today’s consumers expect a seamless customer experience when shopping online – from browsing to checkout to the post-purchase experience. Flexible returns policies are no longer just an important aspect of a customer’s shopping experience, but rather a requirement when consumers choose where to shop. 97% of shoppers say that a company’s returns policy impacts their likelihood to actually purchase with a retailer.
Yet as merchants work to make returns easier and more seamless for their customers, their policies also become larger targets for abuse. Returns abuse occurs when legitimate customers (or what seem like legitimate customers) exploit a merchant’s returns policy or program for their own gain, and this is a growing issue for almost all retailers. In fact, this type of abuse costs US retailers an estimated $24B annually.
Types of Returns Abuse
- Wardrobing / Renting: Abusers purchase items, wear or use them, and then return the items back to the store for a refund.
- Returns Fraud: Abusers return a different (and less valuable) item while collecting the value of the original item.
- Repeat Offenders: Sophisticated abusers set up multiple accounts and use different payment methods to hide their identities and avoid detection.
- High Returns Rates: Consumers return a high percentage of their orders back to the merchant. In many cases, this is because abusers add items to their cart to qualify for free shipping or a “free gift with purchase” offering, and then return their order.
The Business Impact of Returns Abuse
Because this issue only continues to grow, merchants need to be aware of the challenges presented by this type of abuse. Business can expect the following impacts:
- Lost Revenue: Abusive returns remove inventory from stock that could be sold to legitimate customers. In a survey, 54% of merchants indicated lost revenues of above $5 million annually due to returns abuse.
- Operational Overhead:: Costs associated with managing abusive returns – processing, shipping, restocking, and more – all cut into a merchant’s bottom-line.
- Poor Customer Experience: Costs associated with returns abuse can prevent merchants from building out or supporting a best-in-class returns program, resulting in a poor customer experience.
Introducing Forter’s Returns Abuse Protection
Forter’s new Returns Abuse Protection solution protects businesses from returns abuse and fraud by providing merchants with the ability to accurately approve legitimate returns, detect abusive users, and enforce your returns policies in real-time. With Forter, your business can now deliver a best-in-class returns program without risk, so you can protect your profits and enhance your overall customer experience.
Our Returns Abuse Protection offering is an extension of Forter’s Policy Abuse Protection suite – which enables merchants to identify and protect their businesses from abusive users who are taking advantage of their business policies – including Item Not Received (INR) abuse, promotional and coupon abuse, reseller abuse, and reshipper abuse.
Your returns policy is critical in determining whether consumers will do business with you. The time to act is now. Read our White Paper to learn more about how returns abuse is impacting your business and how Forter can help you stop it.