As Christmas fast approaches, Australian online retailers are encouraged to maximise their profits by enacting changes to their refunds and returns systems.

In 2020 over 35% of Australians returned online Christmas purchases, according to a survey by Australian parcel delivery and collection point network, Hubbed.

“The financial costs of refunds and returns can be staggering for an online retailer. Poor refund policies can make online shoppers cautious, while poor returns systems can eat into profits and cost online retailers more than the original sale,” Hubbed CEO and founder, David McLean said.

“Difficult returns processes can also impact a brand – if returning an item is just too hard, consumers will remember next time they’re shopping online and go elsewhere.”

With Australian Retailers Association (ARA) research showing that 48% of Christmas shopping is set to be done online this year, online retailers should start to prepare for the flow on effects of managing returns.

McLean shares his top tips for minimising Christmas e-commerce return costs:

  1. Ensure you have a strong refund policy in place. A sound returns policy gives confidence to the buyer and can be the difference between converting a visitor to a customer.
  2. An easy-to-follow returns model. A streamlined refund process complete with clear instructions for returning purchases offers peace of mind and helps combat buyer hesitancy.
  3. Consider collection points. Identifying a convenient returns drop-off location can improve purchase return logistics and reduce retailers’ costs in several ways. Couriers offering large volume pick-ups from one location are quicker and cheaper than retail postage, as well as being more environmentally sustainable as there’s fewer delivery trips being made.