Shoppers bought a lot online in the 2022 holiday season — a record-breaking $35.27 billion, according to Adobe Analytics data. But they also returned a record-breaking amount, according to data from Loop Returns.
Web sales during the Cyber 5 period from Thanksgiving through Black Friday led to a 31% year-over-year increase in returns, according to Loop. Loop is a Shopify-integrated return-management software company. Its returns data comes exclusively from its more than 1,800 merchants using the Shopify platform.
Loop processed a return every 1.25 seconds, on average, on Dec. 27, 2022, which the company said was its busiest day ever. Returns peaked at about 2 per second, on average, during its busiest hour that day.
“We anticipated a spike in returns,” said Loop co-founder and CEO Jonathan Poma. “But we were blown away by these numbers. This is a lot of returns to handle for independent businesses of any size.”
Loop says it processed about 300,000 returns from Dec. 26, 2022, to Dec. 30. That’s an average of 60,000 returns a day.
Its three busiest days for returns in 2022:
- Dec. 26: 65,000 processed returns
- Dec. 27: 68,000 processed returns
- Dec. 28: 62,000 processed returns
The return process is an opportunity to upsell
Returns outpaced sales, according to Loop. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the company.
In addition to processing returns for refunds, Loop also allows Shopify merchants to exchange products or upsell. It allows shoppers to apply the value of their current return order toward other products they want. It displays items that a shopper could apply their return order’s value to. Loop also suggests to shoppers that they exchange their product for a new size or color, or for another item entirely. It displays out-of-stock messages directly from that exchange suggestion screen.
Loop said this helped its merchants upsell 38% more year over year in 2022.
“We’re thrilled to have played even a small role in the successful holiday season of our merchants,” Poma said. “Especially at a time where gifts are bought for others, sizes and preferences are going to be wrong.”
Overall ecommerce return rate
Online return rates dropped to 16.5% in 2022 from 20.8% in 2021, according to a study from the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail.
For the first time since online data has been captured as part of the survey in 2019, online return rates are consistent with the overall return rate, the report said. Furthermore, retailers lose $10.40 to return fraud for every $100 in returned merchandise accepted.
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