After a record-breaking returns season, with UPS estimating 8.75 million packages returned in its highest volume week[1], ecommerce activity and return volumes continue to fluctuate due to the pandemic. Providing a good returns experience for ecommerce is now more critical than ever for building customer loyalty. In fact, 89% of consumers won’t shop with a retailer or brand again if they have a negative returns experience[2]. To deliver a positive experience that keeps customers coming back, check out our overview of returns solutions: winning strategies for returns experience.

Inform Shoppers

One of the best ways to mitigate returns is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Particularly for apparel and home goods, there are tools available to help customers make informed purchases that minimize the need for bracketing (buying multiple versions of the same product and returning the items that don’t work out). Examples include:

  • True-fit technology
  • Enhanced fit guides
  • AR & VR
  • Product livestreams from brand ambassadors
  • Detailed product information
  • Product photos
  • Customer reviews

By leveraging these digital tools, retailers and brands can set clearer expectations before shoppers click “Buy Now,” thereby reducing the amount of resulting returns.

Delight Customers

Shoppers return to retailers and brands that excite them maybe through incredible savings, personalized recommendations, or positive in-store and online experiences. But, what if they could feel that same excitement when initiating a return?

If a consumer wants to proceed with a return, the process should be seamless, painless, and ideally take place through an easy-to-use portal. This is critical to building customer loyalty and driving repeat purchases. For example, by offering a surprise and delight moment through Instant Exchanges, retailers and brands can save the sale by allowing customers to immediately purchase the right item before returning the wrong one. It’s a win-win scenario in providing a quality returns experience, and it’s a differentiator that will stick with customers the next time they shop.

Less is More

Over the last year, reducing human touch points in retail has become more important for brands and consumers alike, according to results in our holiday data report.

returns solutions

Fortunately, many of the no-touch features consumers now expect from retailers and brands will be available through our Express Returns offering in Staples® Stores:

  • Contactless: Shoppers can safely and conveniently drop off returns at a physical location by presenting a QR code and receiving an immediate refund.
  • Labelless: Rather than printing a shipping label, customers can use the Returns Portal to choose a location to drop off their items as-is.
  • Packageless: Shoppers can return products from Optoro’s retail customers to one of Staples’ 1,000+ drop-off locations, no box or packaging required.

These features not only reduce contact, they also lessen the environmental footprint and reduce packaging waste associated with a return.

Prep Now

Retailers know the end of the holidays sparks the start of peak returns season, but determining a returns strategy needs to happen well ahead of time. In order to provide consumers the best possible returns solutions, retailers should be rethinking their returns now. This will allow enough time for the right processes and technologies to be implemented before the next flood of returns, which could be as soon as July with summer sales surrounding Amazon Prime Day.

If you’re interested in building a winning returns experience for your business, schedule a demo to meet with us and discuss your options.

Excited to learn more about Returns Experience and our returns solutions? Check out these pages for more information:


1. “UPS expects to break weekly returns record with nearly 9M returns” | Supply Chain Dive | Jan 2021

2. Retail Returns And The Consumer Experience: Leveraging Returns as a Competitive Advantage | WBR Insights, Optoro, and Consumer Returns | 2018