Social Commerce Returns Playbook
Research Reveals That Poor Return Experiences for Social Shoppers Impact Future Sales
- Complimentary report: “Social Commerce Returns Playbook” http://ow.ly/LX5Q50Kmpj5
- Infographic: “The Risk and Reward of Social Commerce Returns” http://ow.ly/6bS250Kmplz
Findings from SimplicityDX's Social Commerce Returns Survey offer brands a view of customers’ experiences when buying using social checkout and returning products.
SimplicityDX, the edge experience company, announced new research findings that two-thirds of social shoppers are more cautious about shopping on social networks again after returning a product bought there. The research study of 1,002 U.S. social shoppers reveals that the experience of returning online purchases makes most shoppers:
- Unlikely to buy again on social channels.
- Likely to buy directly on the brand site.
The complimentary report, “Social Commerce Returns Playbook,” can be read in detail at www.simplicitydx.com/social-commerce-returns-playbook. An infographic on “The Risk and Reward of Social Commerce Returns” is available for publishing at https://25599218.fs1.hubspotusercontent-eu1.net/hubfs/25599218/Social%20Returns%20Infographic_August22.pdf.
“Experience is critical in e-commerce, and this research shows that customers will change their behavior following poor experiences,” explained Charles Nicholls, founding chief strategy officer at SimplicityDX. “With profits in e-commerce coming solely from repeat purchases, this should ring alarm bells for brands selling on social media.
“At this moment, product returns are already a huge problem, eating into profits for many brands. But the experience for shoppers must be good; otherwise, brands risk losing even more through lost future purchases,” added Nicholls.
Amazon Return Comparison
Social commerce is still in its infancy, with only 8% of online shoppers and 36% of seasoned social shoppers having returned a product purchased directly from a social network. For those that have returned a product, the process has several points of friction and is not best in class.
For example, customers typically need to contact the social network to get a return merchandise authorization (RMA) and then give the number to the brand. In some cases, the brand doesn’t recognize the number, and the customer is forced to speak to the brand’s call center to get the return. In the study, social shoppers that had gone through the process were asked to compare their experience to Amazon; 60% rated their experience with Amazon as much easier.
“Integrations between the brand’s e-commerce platform and social media platforms are generally poor, leading to a range of issues including product availability, promotions, and return problems,” explained Ruth Peters, founding CMO at SimplicityDX.
Study findings reveal the returns process is the most troublesome, leading to customer frustration, because it exposes all the flaws at the same time:
- Shoppers are unsure of how to get a refund.
- Brand and social network communications are misaligned.
- Technology systems are often poorly integrated.
Few Shoppers Return to Social to Buy
This frustration is illustrated by only 17% of people who have returned merchandise are happy to buy on social media again.
The SimplicityDX State of Social Commerce 2022 report revealed that 71% of online shoppers prefer to check out on the brand site. This preference addresses the primary concerns about navigating a return, product authenticity, and trust.
When asked the open-ended question, “What is the one thing that you would change about shopping on social media?” 35% stated that they would want to increase trust, product quality, eliminate scams, and introduce authenticity guarantees. This is a typical reaction from one respondent:
“Eliminating scammers. They are everywhere. It makes me hesitant to buy products on social media.”
The research also pointed to some best practices for brands to adopt:
- Most notable: putting the returns slip into the delivery packages.
- Clearly outlining the returns process on that same note.
These two simple steps provide shoppers with the product information they need and clear direction on who to contact, alleviating many of the frustrations that customers experience during social commerce returns.