Consumer Survey: The Link Between Returns, Conversion and Retention

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By Published On: August 26, 20220 Comments

Three quarters of shoppers say a retailer's returns policy is important when considering an online purchase. How do you measure up?

Each fortnight, Power Retail surveys over 1,000 online shoppers to understand exactly how consumer behaviour is changing in real-time. Our latest Trajectory Report took a deep dive into Returns. What do consumers say?


Overwhelmingly, we see that free return shipping is what is most important to consumers. A massive 70% rated this as the number one, most important element when it comes to the returns experience. Being a quick and easy process came in second place, and a fast refund or immediate return in third place. What shoppers want is a seamless process, meaning that they can get a return back without a cost to the consumer, and get their exchange or refund quickly. As the rest of the survey responses show, the returns process should be considered part of the consumer experience, and not an afterthought. 


For two years running, repackaging an item is the number one hassle for shoppers when it comes to returns (now 54%). In second place? Finding an opportunity to drop off the item (47%), followed by getting around to it within the time frame (43%). We can see that trends year-on-year are almost identical, with the same hassles in 2021 and 2022. This means there has been little evolution in the returns space, with customers facing the same pain points. This year, we asked for the first time about the cost of returns, which was a substantial hassle, for 30%. Interestingly, only 7% of online shoppers surveyed said they haven’t had to return an online purchase before.


Very. Three quarters of Aussie shoppers (75%) say that a retailer’s returns policy is extremely or very important when considering an online purchase. Again, we can see this same trend year-on-year, with only a tiny minority (4%) saying a returns policy is either ‘not so important’ or ‘not important at all’. This goes to show that returns should not be considered part of the post-purchase experience, but very much part of the purchase journey.

Source: Power Retail Switched On Trajectory Report #51


Is there a link between returns and retention? Yes. Three quarters of survey respondents (75%) say that they would be unlikely or highly unlikely to purchase from a retailer again if they had a negative returns experience. This means that retailers need to look at exactly what consumers are saying in terms of pain-points and hassles, and ensure that they’re providing a returns experience that is very much considered part of the customer experience.

Want to know more? Download our Trajectory Report #51, FREE to Power Retail Switched On Members.

Not a member yet? FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, register for Switched On LITE for FREE and receive Trajectory Report #50. Register here.

PLUS join our fortnightly Market Update, in which we present findings from the most recently published Trajectory Reports. FREE to join (for both Switched On members and non-members), and just 15 minutes! Our next Market Update will take place on Wednesday, 7 September at 1 pm, and we’ll be taking a deep dive into Returns. Register here.

The e-commerce landscape is changing. With a Power Retail Switched On membership, you get access to current e-commerce revenue and forecasting, traffic levels, average conversion rate, payment preferences and more!

About the Author: Natasha Scholl

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