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How Retailers In Singapore Can Deal With Serial Returners

How Retailers In Singapore Can Deal With Serial Returners

Serial returners are making headlines as they are being banned from Amazon, and other major US and UK stores are set to follow this policy.

Compared to retailers in Asia, retailers in the US and the UK have generous returns and refunds policy for items purchased, and a growing number of these customers have taken advantage of such returns policy.

While not all customers who returned their items purchased are banned, the focus is on ‘serial returners’ – customers who often buy items and return them, either as frequent returns or as bulk returns.

Is banning customers a good idea to begin with?

60% of US and 45% of UK retailers are considering to impose a lifetime ban on serial returners.

Retailers have taken customer returns as a serious concern given that they stand to lose a lot of money. It is estimated that US retailers lost USD$351 billion in sales in 2017 to items returned which account for 10% of total sales. A further 6% of those returned were considered fraudulent returns. For the holiday season, customer returns were at a high of 28% of total sales.

Does Singapore Face The Same Problem?

Online shopping experience has left out core experiences from shopping: the ability to touch and, try out the items before purchasing. As such, it’s not a surprise to find product returns are higher for e-commerce: 20% of all sales, which is doubled from brick and mortar stores.

The Singapore e-commerce market is among the highest in terms of dollar value compared to its ASEAN neighbours, at SGD$91 which correlates to the fact that it has the highest GDP in the region.

Interestingly, according to another study by iPrice, Singaporeans e-commerce shoppers show the highest dissatisfaction compared to its neighbours, at a high of 34.7%.

Among the ASEAN online shoppers, Singaporeans have the highest refund 29%. This is 9% higher than the average returns for e-commerce.

So How Can Retailers in Singapore Take Charge To Tackle This Revealing Issue?

We’ve identified five steps retailers, including online retailers, can do to prevent or just contain this issue.

1. Track your customers and numbers of returns

Consider updating your order management systems (OMS) to take into account customer returns.

All robust order systems have this in place. If not, record the names and items of the customers and their returns. Make sure to check them against the list for future returns, or for online sellers, to check against their names prior to accepting their orders.

2. Have a clear return or refund policy
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