With new figures suggesting that British shoppers spent an average of £183 this festive period, and have returned or will return 70 per cent of their total spend, it is important for retailers to have their store till systems available, “always-on” to manage these returns. However, while there is a lot of attention given to the peak of returns that were purchased in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, as well as for Christmas, it is also important to keep in mind the return of items bought in the January sales, which can last the whole month and therefore meaning returns running well into February and March.
Shoppers may return items for many reasons, such as mistakenly buying items that don’t fit, different product expectations when ordering online or just simply not liking the product once tried at home. Such reasons for return may have been fuelled by the customer indulging in a quick purchase, often as a result of temptation during the January sales and the thought that they are ‘picking up a bargain’. In fact, the Barclaycard figures found that six in ten UK shoppers confessed to being ‘spontaneous spenders’ who are unable to resist an impulse buy during periods where items were in sales offers. The top three impulse purchases still heading for return are clothes (53%), shoes (22%) and electronics (16%); often sale items that usually cannot be returned to the virtual shelves due to the new season of stock. Greater uptake of multichannel services have also made it more convenient for consumers to make impulse purchases, as they can buy and return however they like – approximately 62% of people are more likely to shop online if they are able return an item in-store.
As a result of these returns running well into February, retailers may need to take a further review of their service level agreements with their IT service providers to make sure that there is adequate cover. This is to ensure that both retailer, as well as the customer are not kept waiting for extended periods for someone to come out and repair any faulty IT.
Overall, it is therefore crucial for retailers to have and to make sure that their tills are “always-on” even after the peak period of returns, to accommodate the increased demand to process these returns following the January and February sales. Customers will certainly not thank you for their long wait in queues as a result of a closed till and will not convey a good customer experience, which could result in that customer’s last action in your store being returning the item, and not returning again.
At Barron McCann, we pride ourselves in delivering service excellence in order to ensure customer downtime is minimized.
About the Author
Sean Chandiram is Sales and Marketing Director of Barron McCann, an independent IT service provider, specialising in secure installation and support of distributed IT systems. The company has over 39 years experience in the implementation, transition and support of IT assets across multiple platforms and environments. They boast an impressive portfolio of clients includes Wickes, Primark, TK Maxx, The Body Shop, CostCutter and Iceland. For more information visit www.barronmccann.com