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Most Consumers Will Return Holiday Gifts This Year

Amber Leith
Head of Global Marketing

Each year we invest in primary research focused on exploring and refining consumer expectations across the value chain.

This year we talked to over 15,800 consumers worldwide and expanded our research to include a few key inquiries around Christmas purchases and returns. The results indicate that 77 percent of consumers plan to return a portion of their gifts, with nearly 20 percent expecting to return more than half of their presents (sorry grandma!). 

Despite the big return expectation, it's not all bad, especially if you're prepared to capitalize on identified traffic. While 32 percent of consumers noted they plan to return gifts via mail, 65 percent intend to return them to the store, giving retailers another opportunity to engage. 

Our VP of Strategy and Solution Management, Jeff Warren, shared some insights on how retailers can turn a simple return into an opportunity, “The traffic generated by holiday returns holds significant opportunity for retailers to build better customer profiles and generate new opportunities for engagement by personalizing the returns experience,” said Warren. “Preparing for returns is a best practice, leveraging returns intelligence to inform product development and new customer acquisition strategies is next practice retail.”

Capitalizing on Returns

Savvy retailers have started to reimagine their returns process to capture essential information, inform other parts of the business and improve customer satisfaction. When a consumer visits a store to return a purchase, that customer comes with a history and therefore opportunity. Well-informed store associates armed with prescriptive recommendations for next-best offers can save a sale or upsell at the point of service, positively influencing essential KPIs like net promoter score (NPS). Real-time inventory visibility is crucial to successful execution, and the right technology can mitigate the risk of loss which is another cringe-worthy reality of the holiday season. 

Buying Gifts in the Store is Still Preferred by Most Shoppers, Shipping Preferences Vary by Generation

In-store is still the preferred way to shop, in fact 75 percent of consumers stated they will shop in-store and bring purchases home compared to 55 percent who said they will shop online and ship to home. 

Generation X (ages 35-54) led the way in shopping online and shipping to home at 57 percent, Generation Z and millennials demonstrated a stronger desire to pick up the gifts they ordered online in the store, (25 and 30 percent respectively), and millennials are sending 33 percent of purchases to locations other than their home, including to work (18 percent) or to pick up lockers (15 percent). 

As retailers gear up for the most wonderful time of the year, we are running a thoughtfully curated #HolidayReady social campaign featuring top blog posts covering topics from how to increase ecommerce sales and convert more in-store traffic to building effective customer loyalty interactions. Follow the hashtag #HolidayReady -- tis the season! 

Download Setting the Bar: Global Customer Experience Trends 2019 for more insights.

Setting the Bar: Oracle Retail Global Customer Experience Trends 2019 Report



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