Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association


BIGresearch Survey Shows 70% of People Concerned With Return Policies of Some Retailers

New Software-Driven Programs May Drive Away Customers
'Tis the season for returns and exchanges but for many consumers,
new software programs designed to monitor their return histories
may have them saying adios to their favorite stores, according to
BIGresearch's December Consumer Intentions and Actions (CIA) survey
of over 7,700 consumers.

Almost 70% of consumers said they are very or somewhat concerned
with the new return policies used by many retailers. And, 36% said
these policies, if known about, would affect where they shop.

"Consumers are asking retailers to put their money where their
software is, they expect retailers to stand behind the products
they sell," said Phil Rist, V.P. BIGresearch. "Retailers' attempts
to weed out fraudulent returns may drive away many of their high
ROI customers," said Rist.

"The new return policies are another example of retailers failing
to give consumers respect," said T. Scott Gross, co-author with
BIGresearch of the just-released "When Customers Talk," "I understand the need to control
shrinkage as much as possible but I fear that many retailers may be
throwing out the baby with the bath water as most holiday returns
are for wrong size, wrong color or wrong style," said Gross.

The survey also showed that those most concerned did their holiday
shopping at discount stores (52.4%), department stores (47%),
electronics stores (34.4%), and online (33.4%).
These concerned shoppers also pay most often with cash, check or
debit card (69.3%).

Those companies with liberal return policies may reap the benefit
of loyalty from these consumers. The top 5 stores shopped by these
consumers are:

Women's clothing Electronics

Wal-Mart 19.9% Best Buy 27.6%
JC Penney 5.3% Wal-Mart 20.6%
Kohl's 5.0% Circuit City 8.0%
Kmart 2.6% Sears 4.7%
Sears 2.5% Target 2.1%

Complimentary findings are available at

About T. Scott Gross and BIGresearch
T. Scott Gross ( and his partners BIGresearch
( have been listening to customers (over 100,000 of them)
and can put you in touch with the latest research in a lively, fun look
at retailing today in their new book, "When Customers Talk." The book is
the only "living book" that gives readers a chance to sign up for free
updates (on the consumer market) taken from monthly surveys just for buying
the book.


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