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Shoppers Not Yet Satisfied with Return Process

PriceRunner Survey Shines Spotlight on Online Shopping Behavior:

  • 40% of online shoppers report a lack of satisfaction with item return process
  • Top three reasons for a return are: item was damaged; wrong item shipped; and unwanted gift or duplicate
  • PriceRunner provides three ‘Return to Sender’ tips to reduce online shopper frustrations with the return process

Online shopping has provided consumers with a wider selection of products with greater ability to get a lower price, but when it comes to returning goods bought online consumers are still looking for an easier process for dealing with product returns.

In a PriceRunner survey of 400 shoppers who have been purchasing online goods for between one and five years, the award-winning online comparison shopping engine found that almost 40% of survey respondents were not yet satisfied with returning items they had purchased online. They cited the top three reasons for returning an item online included:

  • Item was damaged
  • Wrong item was shipped
  • Unwanted gift or duplicate

While these were the top reasons, most other replies (totaling 61%), cited other reasons for returns – a large number of those comments claimed size, fit, color or a change of mind as the reason for return. For these reasons, respondents indicated that clothes, shoes and apparel are certainly more likely to get returned than any other consumer goods.

PriceRunner also delved into the frequency of returns and found that while 51.1% indicated they had never returned an item purchased online, 16.7% noted they had returned an item once, 15.3% twice, 5.5% three times, 3.5% four times and 7.9% five or more times. However, an interesting trend emerged when looking at how long someone had shopped online and frequency of return – the longer someone had shopped online, the less likely they were to return an order.

Survey respondents were asked to explain what bothered them about the item return process, and two answers were predominant: ‘having to pay the shipping costs for returning the item’, and the time and hassle associated with ‘standing in line at the post office’ to return an order.

“The PriceRunner survey findings reflect a general sentiment in the marketplace that online retailers’ return processes have room for improvement,” said Dan Gerler, founder and CEO of Onlineshoes.com, the nation’s first online shoe retailer. “While our customer service team is equipped with extensive product and sizing information that reduces the likelihood of returns and exchanges, it’s inevitable some customers will change their mind about orders in hindsight. We accommodate this reality by offering a simple, unconditional 90-day return policy and year-round free exchanges. These courtesies lower the purchase barrier for first-time shoppers and build long-term loyalty with repeat customers.”

Martin Andersen, general manager of PriceRunner, notes that the site offers the following “Return to Sender” tips for reducing online shopper frustrations with the return process:

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  • Know thy vendor’s return policy. Before making an online purchase, review the return policy of the store. “If you’re not comfortable with the store’s return policies, compare them with other merchants and see if you can find a return policy you are comfortable with. This is all part of finding the best deal for you,” says Andersen.
  • Follow the rules. Stores should have policies posted on their website, and it is important to follow the ‘step by step’ procedures for returning an item to the merchant. “Stay calm, stay rational, because if you follow the return authorization process, you will dramatically improve the chances that you have a smooth return experience,” says Andersen.
  • Avoid opening the packaging. Upon receiving your order, compare your order confirmation email with the paperwork or the actual product that was sent to you. “If you were sent the wrong item, you will save yourself having to pay a restocking fee if you don’t open the product packaging,” says Andersen.

PriceRunner conducted the survey of online shoppers during the week of January 15, 2007. For an executive summary that contains the survey questions and responses, please contact Michael Krems at krems@kremspr.com.

About PriceRunner
PriceRunner is an internationally acclaimed comparison shopping engine that provides consumers with easy access to comprehensive buying information on a wide variety of products. PriceRunner aggregates product details, user and expert product reviews, retailer ratings, as well as the best available prices in one convenient location. PriceRunner distinguishes itself from other comparison shopping engines by including prices from both online and offline retailers providing consumers with the broadest price comparisons and always lists the lowest price first. PriceRunner’s goal is to provide consumers with the ability to make an informed and confident buying decision. PriceRunner is a ValueClick, Inc. company.

About Onlineshoes.com
Established in 1996, Onlineshoes.com is the nation’s first online shoe retailer. With a history that began decades ago in a family-owned corner shoe store, the company is committed to delivering exceptional value and service. Onlineshoes.com offers the latest high quality dress, casual and athletic footwear for men, women and kids in more than 24,000 trend-setting styles and over 150 premium brands, as well as a wide selection of bags, athletic apparel and accessories. In addition to a 110 percent price guarantee and a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, customers enjoy free shipping and exchanges every day of the year. For more information, visit http://www.onlineshoes.com.

About ValueClick, Inc.
ValueClick, Inc. (NASDAQ:VCLK) is one of the world’s largest online marketing services companies, offering comprehensive and scalable solutions to deliver cost-effective customer acquisition for advertisers and robust revenue streams for publishers. ValueClick’s performance-based solutions allow customers to reach their potential through multiple online marketing channels, including affiliate and search marketing, display advertising, lead generation, ad serving and email technology, and comparison shopping. ValueClick brands include Commission Junction, ValueClick Media, MediaPlex and PriceRunner. For more information, please visit http://www.valueclick.com.

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