C-stores burdened by surge in parcel returns

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (3)
  • Save

Convenience retailers who offer parcel services are battling against a frenzy of returns as shoppers splurge in the New Year sales.

British shoppers have collectively spent £9.1bn on updating their wardrobes for 2018 over the January sales period, yet over half (51%) say they’ll later be returning one of more of their purchases, according to new research from CollectPlus.

When it comes to sending back New Year purchases, 41% of shoppers are opting to return online purchases via a parcel delivery service, dropping them off at their nearest returns location, rather than taking them back to the store.

Half of them say this is because they prefer the convenience of returning items to a location near their homes, instead of using their lunch break or out of office hours to return items in-store.

Catherine Woolfe, marketing director at CollectPlus said: “As retailers continue to offer discounts and reduce old season stock to make way for the S/S 18 trends, there has been a big surge in shoppers snapping up sale items, yet it’s interesting to see how many items are also being returned.

“With over half of shoppers sending back items from their New Year fashion haul, we’re seeing more and more people use CollectPlus as a convenient option to return items at a time that fits in with their busy schedule.”

However, retailers are feeling the strain. Hiral Patel of Londis Claygate in Surrey said he often receives upwards of 30 parcels a day at the moment. “There are some benefits but some big burdens too. 

“The biggest issue is space. I’ve got one parcel behind the counter at the moment that’s enormous, it must have three boxes of shoes in it. The second biggest issue is tensions with customers. Customers don’t always understand how the service works. I’m just the middleman, I’m not Asos or Very, I’m not the person to complain to about issues but because I’m the person they see, it’s me that tends to get it when there’s a problem which isn’t nice.”

The high volume of returns doesn’t necessarily translate into higher in-store sales either, he says.

“The service definitely drives footfall but associated sales aren’t that high. I’d say that only one in five customers actually buy anything while they’re here,” he said.

Gareth Hooton, of Hooton’s News in Golborne, near Warrington, also said storage was an issue.

“The returns take time to process, especially in the run up to Christmas and the new year when we get a lot more to deal with but the commission of 35p isn’t bad compared to other services such as bill payments and top ups. Storage space is a problem though as some of the parcels can be huge and we do get a great many of them,” he added.

However, Manny Patel of Manny’s in Long Ditton Surrey decided to stop offering the CollectPlus service prior to Christmas because it was becoming “too much of a burden.”

“It was just taking up far too much time and just wasn’t worth the 35p commission,” he said.

“Storage was also becoming an issue. Customers were coming in with enormous parcels that needed returning, sometimes upwards of 20 a day, and we had to keep them until the van arrived to collect them.

“On some days we would literally have to turn parcels away because we had too many and then customers could become argumentative which wasn’t nice to deal with.

“I also did an analysis and realised that although the service was definitely driving footfall, it really wasn’t translating into sales. People were just dropping or collecting parcels and not shopping the store. There has been absolutely no change to sales since stopping the service,” he added.

CollectPlus claims that 40% of customers buy other products in the store when dropping off and collecting parcels and that the average amount a customer spends when picking up and dropping off parcels is £3.30.

In addition, 53% of CollectPlus customers dropping off or collecting parcels are visiting the store for the first time, it says.

Readers' comments (3)

  • 35p!!! Why are so many retailers prepared to work for such ridiculous amounts? They provide premises and time yet get paid less than they can make selling a tub of margarine. Spend hour time running your own business guys, not providing slave labour for multinational fashion companies.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 35p!!!
    "Footfall Driver" = "Loss Maker".
    How many minutes of staff time can you buy for 35p?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As usual the amateurs were too quick to jump on the bandwagon.They thought it was all going to be gravy.FOOLS.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

These comments have not been moderated.

You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment.

Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments.

If you wish to complain about a comment please use the “report this comment” facility or email groceremails@wrbm.com

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory

Related images

  • Parcel collection
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (3)
  • Save
Sign in

Newsletter Sign-up

I wish to receive the following newsletters:

FOLLOW US