Advancement in virtual try before you buy technology is taking the retail world by storm; however, with many consumers still seeking the physical experience, payment methods such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) are gaining popularity, however, they’re also significantly impacting on eCommerce Returns.
The UK BNPL market is predicted to grow by 50.5% in 2022, and with more than 17 million active consumers and Apple’s recent introduction of Apple Pay Later, it’s evident that the buy now, pay later model is not going to slow down anytime soon despite recent Government announcements to increase regulations on lending.
So why are consumers favouring BNPL?
According to a recent study by Shopify, 57% of consumers claim that BNPL positively impacts their purchase decision. The benefit of spreading the cost of luxury purchases is nothing new. However, the increased ease to try before you buy is having a dramatic impact on basket size and order value within the fashion industry.
In particular, BNPL payments allow consumers to create the in-store experience in the comfort of their homes without needing to pay upfront for goods. With BNPL, consumers can order multiple sizes and increase the volume of products they order without the risk of restrictions on how much they can afford upfront.
As a result, brands are experiencing an increase in returns, and for those without reliable returns processes, an increase in consumer complaints.
According to the UK Independent Consumer Campion Which, there has been an increase in consumer complaints relating to the slow processing of returns resulting in unnecessary BNPL payments collected from consumers.
How to offer a great eCommerce returns experience
1. Free Returns
BNPL and free returns go together hand-in-hand, with consumers often opting to purchase through BNPL payment methods to provide the flexibility and convenience of trying a product before any payments leave their bank accounts. However, this only works if consumers can return the item for free.
2. Provide Consumers With Choice
In today’s environment, we all know that providing consumers with the ability to choose what’s right for them increases consumer experience and brand loyalty. However, this doesn’t just relate to the initial delivery but also the choice in how to return items. From home collections to in-store returns to third-party drop-off locations such as Evri or Collect Plus, providing consumers with the ability to choose the returns method most accessible to them is crucial.
3. Fast And Accurate Returns Processing
Once a return is made, it’s in everyone’s best interest that it’s processed as quickly and accurately as possible. In the case of BNPL, this is even more important, with consumers seeking return confirmations before any scheduled payments are collected. Additionally, as with any returns, slow or inaccurate returns processing results in increased customer complaints and pressure on customer service teams.
4. Accurate Stock Levels And Availability
With an increase in initial order volume, it’s possible brands will experience a high turnover of key product lines and SKUs. However, with up to 56% of products returned, stock levels will be impacted if returns are not processed quickly and efficiently. With a highly-trained Quality Control and returns team, brands can be confident that their stock levels are accurate and up-to-date, reducing the risk of over-purchasing stock or overselling their online store.
Ecommerce Returns is the future
As the growth in BNPL continues, so will the increase in returns. For brands to succeed in the competitive eCommerce market, they will need to ensure that their returns process is up to the challenge. As a result, many medium to large eCommerce brands are turning to external returns experts to handle their returns.