The Ridiculousness of Returns – Crazy But True Return Anecdotes
True story – fake name!
Rebecca ordered a unicorn costume for her daughter for Halloween well in advance from a popular online retailer. When it didn’t arrive three days before the big day, she began to get nervous. When it didn’t arrive two days before she went into a flat panic, and express-ordered a new unicorn costume to be delivered within 24 hours. The second order arrived first, just in time for Halloween. The first order arrived two days after Halloween. Rebecca initiated the returns process for the latest arrival. After all, what was she to do with two unicorn costumes? “All” Rebecca had to do in order to return the item was to (1) restore the original packaging (2) print the shipping labels (3) bring the item to a local return spot (4) wait for her refund up to 14 days. That’s quite a task list for an item that came late through no fault of her own. Not to mention the carbon footprint of that same return going all the way back to the online store, in the hope of someone else needing a unicorn costume before next Halloween. Rebecca debated whether or not to go through with the return process. Perhaps she should just donate the item. But to who and how? One thing was certain, she would think twice before ordering from that online retailer again.
The returns process requires logistical and administrational action on the part of the shopper. It is a process in which the onus is on the shopper and the person-to-person support from the online retailer may be limited. This leads to a negative customer experience and sews the seeds of doubt whether or not the online purchase is “worth it” – particularly when returns are initiated because of a process/purchase flaw – (i.e., the purchase came too late, the wrong item was sent, the item arrived and it was defective, etc.,) Ultimately this could lead to shoppers deciding not to to make additional purchases from the online retailer. Mistakes can and will happen, and online retailers are constantly mitigating these issues, but shoppers are very seldom prepared to pay the price.
A possible happy ending to this story could be enabled by offering a simple and personable process in which the shopper gets a refund, and gives a second life to that new unicorn costume by making a local return or even a local donation. At very least the returns process can be simplified and the carbon footprint of that unwanted unicorn can be reduced. This journey is within reach with OtailO.
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