Consumers welcome Asos returns policy penalising those who over-order
It may come as something of a surprise but it seems that most consumers welcome Asos’s controversial new returns policy with 76% of shoppers (including serial returners) in favour of it, new research from delivery specialist Whistl shows.
In April, Asos announced a clampdown with the threat of it closing the accounts of those too often buying huge volumes of items with every intention of returning them, and especially those who buy, wear once and then return pieces. But while Whistl said more than three-quarters of consumers are supportive, the changes are less popular with younger (63%) and less affluent shoppers (66%). It didn’t say how many consumers it surveyed, but overall only 8% of consumers disagree with the changes, although this increases to 16% when related to Asos shoppers specifically. Interestingly though, Argos shoppers are the most negative with 19% against the changes. Those supporting the policy are doing so from both a moral and practical viewpoint. They think others are being dishonest and negatively affecting everyone else by making items second-hand and pushing prices up. But those who think the changes are wrong believe that the principle of being able to buy and return is important and they’re concerned that genuine customers might be unfairly penalised. Bizarrely, those who are themselves serial returners are generally supportive and it’s interesting to see that while as many as 79% of people have made a purchase with no intention of keeping the items, the reasons behind people over-ordering are more complex. For instance, 66% of people have over-ordered to qualify for free delivery. That’s almost the equivalent of those shops that insist customers take a minimum number of items into the changing room even though they only want one or two! Meanwhile 71% have taken advantage of try-on-first services and so ordered a number of items to be able to compare them, and 67% ordered several colours and sizes with the intention to return those that didn’t fit/suit. Then there’s the 77% who helped retailers’ bottom lines by keeping unsuitable items because returning them was too much of a hassle. Melanie Darvall, Marketing and Communications Director, Whistl, said: “Although the changes brought in by Asos created a lot of debate at the time, our research indicates that the changes are widely welcomed, even by those who are considered to be serial returners. It’s a good lesson for retailers when looking at developing their return policies for online purchases. If explained well and seen as reasonable, the general public will welcome them, no matter how controversial they may first appear.”