Convenience, Right Incentives Influence Consumers to Spend More

LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 12, 2019: Valassis, the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement, today released new research highlighting consumer behavior around holiday gift returns along with guidance on how retailers can use the touchpoint to capture and engage shoppers.

Retailers should view returns as a real opportunity to jump start Q1 2020 sales through enhanced return experiences and increased foot traffic. According to the survey, 77% of consumers said they are likely to purchase other items when returning or exchanging items in-store. In fact, last year 20% said they spent even more than the value of the item they returned. Further emphasizing that the shopper journey does not end once a purchase is made, 76% also said they look for discounts and offers on other products before returning items whether during the holidays or throughout the year. 

Stemming from a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, retailers can expect the biggest rush of returns in early January (42%), aligning with UPS’ projected National Returns Day on Jan. 2, 2020 when 1.9 million inbound packages are expected to be shipped.

“Retailers typically focus on the lead up to major shopping events and on the initial sale, but there is true benefit to continue connecting with consumers during this period of high returns,” said Carrie Parker, vice president, marketing, Valassis. “Returns and exchanges provide opportunities to drive sales as well as to engage and further build relationships. It’s clear that many consumers make additional purchases during this process – both online and offline. Marketers can embrace this by incentivizing purchases and promoting products using intelligent targeting and even location-aware advertising to reach consumers when it matters most.”

Additional findings include:

  • Gift cards incentivize buys
    • 53% of consumers have used a gift card to purchase something while making a return or exchange.
  • Flexible return policies drive more purchases
    • 94% of consumers agree they are more likely to buy from retailers that have flexible return policies.
    • Consumers are more likely to return or exchange an item if retailers offer easy in-and-out in-store return (36%), an extended return policy timeframe (20%), or free shipping (18%).
    • 54% noted a retailer’s return policy caused a frustrating experience for them in the past, presenting an opportunity to improve the shopper experience.
  • Consumers prefer in-store returns
    • 71% of consumers prefer to return or exchange items in store, with 80% of women responding in this manner compared to 62% of male respondents.
      • That said, respondents between the ages of 25-34 (42%) and 35-44 (44%) are more likely to ship their return vs. 29% of those surveyed.

For more retail industry insights, please visit Valassis’ website.  

About the Survey

Valassis surveyed more than 1,000 consumers to understand their holiday gift return plans. All respondents were located in the United States and are over the age of 18. The survey was conducted at the end of November 2019.

About Valassis

Valassis is the leader in marketing technology and consumer engagement. We work with over 60,000 companies and brands in a wide array of industries, partnering to anticipate consumer intent, inspire action, and create demand. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RetailMeNot Everyday™ is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me? ® program delivers hope to missing children and their families. Valassis and RetailMeNot are wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings.

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