Almost half of Australian consumers (46%) want returns to be more sustainable, according to the latest research by SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement.

The research reveals that for almost one in five Australian consumers (18%), sustainability is now the most important consideration when shopping. In fact, almost half (47%) of Australian shoppers are more loyal to a brand that has a sustainable returns process, for example using less packaging or recycling returned items.  

The SAP Emarsys research highlights close to half (46%) agree that retailers should re-sell returned items at a lower price to improve sustainability. Alternatively, 49% would like to see retailers accept returns at local depots to improve sustainability.   

However, over two-thirds of respondents (69%) say they prefer not to return items, and 56% want retailers to “get it right the first time,” indicating over half of Australian consumers do not want to deal with returns in the first place. 

Sustainability is no longer a nice to have for consumers, it’s now a key consideration when deciding which brand to purchase from and it’s something brands need to prioritise, according to SAP Emarsys chief revenue officer, Thomas Harris.

“For me, the key is tackling the cause of the problem – why customers are having to return items in the first place,” he said.

“That’s where AI-powered personalisation comes in. AI-powered personalisation can transform customer experiences with deep customer insights, offering recommendations that are highly tailored to meet the needs of the consumer. It is imperative retailers embrace personalisation using sizing and previous purchase insights data, so shoppers can buy the right item the first time around.”