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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Wouldn’t return friendly packaging make the returns issue worse for retailers?

Returns and Refund

Returns are a real headache for almost all online retailers, with some analysts quoting a return rate of 30%, so why on earth would any businesses want to make returning goods easier?

Well the answer is simple; research we commissioned shows that 95% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they know they can return it easily.  In other words, an awkward returns policy equals lost sales.

Our research went on to examine which part of the returns process was most irritating for customers and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority, 56%, identified a trip to the post office. However a significant minority, 30%, said repacking goods was the most annoying part of the process, with men and younger adults particularly averse to doing battle with the sellotape.

While it's tricky for internet retailers to control a customer's experience at the post office, helping consumers to repackage goods can boost the customer experience as well as offering other business benefits:

  1. Make your packaging reusable: Adding a double glue strip to your mailing bag allows consumers to re-use the packaging to send their unwanted product back to you in the post. This improves the customer experience and is environmentally friendly.
  2. Reduce damage caused by inadequate packing: Make sure your packaging can withstand the weather and the rough and tumble of the sorting office. Damaged packaging can lead to damaged goods and poor impressions; almost 95% of consumers claim poor quality or damaged packaging negatively impacts on their perception of a business.
  3. Recycle your returned packaging: While cardboard is widely perceived as a recyclable commodity, other types of packaging, including polythene are also easily recycled. In the UK there is a shortage of good quality polythene scrap leading to an increase in the price per tonne, this means recycling makes economic sense as well as fulfilling CSR aims and reducing landfill tax.

Article featured on Drapers Online 28th Jan 13.

Featured Article: Does your postal packaging damage your brand?

Postal packaging has the potential to be a fantastic marketing tool for online retailers, but it's one which is underutilised by many brands. At best, this means missed opportunities to promote your business, while at worse company's risk inadvertently damaging their own brand.

Research we commissioned proves just how attuned consumers are to the impact of packaging - 70% view postal packaging as integral to the customer experience. If packaging is poor quality, 95% sat it negatively impacts on their perception of a company and 50% admit they are more likely to return goods.

When viewed from a consumer's viewpoint, the reason for placing such importance on packaging becomes obvious. For those buying from online-only retailers, packaging may be the first physical contact they have with a brand, while individuals who buy from multi-channel retailers expect the online service to mirror the glossy in-store experience that retailers invest heavily in.

Here are our top tips to develop really effective postal packaging:

  • Think beyond logistics - seek your marketing team's expertise to ensure your packaging reflects your brand. F+F at Tesco's new packaging range mirrors fashion trends while John Lewis has chosen packaging that is of sufficient weight to convey the high quality so associated with the brand.
  • Bridge the gap between online and offline - consider including QR codes, brand messages or social media details to really engage customers.
  • Bespoke packaging is cost effective and fast - UK-based manufacturers can be extremely competitive, boast short shipping times and can reduce your company's carbon footprint.
  • Don't neglect the practicalities - best-fit packaging reduces your overall spend and improves presentation. Packaging that makes returning goods easier enhances the customer experience and is environmentally friendly.
  • Consider the whole order cycle - choosing the right packaging for your business will aid outbound packing, protect the product during posting, delight your customer and streamline the returns process.

As featured on Drapers Online - In Business Section, 16th January 2013


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