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What Consumers Want in Returning Items

25 Jan

Today, we consider what consumers want in returning items. And this is a topic that we have studied before. Customer Returns. Better Understanding Returns of Online Purchases. Customer Service Means a Good Return Policy. After all, the purchase process is not complete until a customer is given the opportunity to return a product. And a stress-free return policy is likely to result in repeat business.

What Consumers Want in Returning Items Today

So, what factors are most important to consumers when they return products? We know that these factors will affect customer satisfaction, purchase loyalty, and reviews on social media.

Recently, conducted a study on the most important factors in the return process. And it compared these factors for store shopping versus online shopping.’s findings are highlighted in the following eMarketer chart.

According to eMarketer:

“Returns are a big thing for consumers. So much so that many avoid shopping at retailers with strict return policies in place. In fact, more than half of U.S. Internet users surveyed by coupon and discount Web site last November agreed that they avoid such places. While over a quarter of respondents agreed strongly.”

“When it comes to various return policy options, many consumers look for the same thing. For example, when shopping in-store, 37.9% of those polled said getting a full refund — not just an exchange or store credit — was their most important return-related concern. Almost as many consumers (33.6%) felt the same way with regard to digital shopping.”

“Whether shopping in-store or online for gifts (either for themselves or others in the past six months), a good number of respondents said it’s important that the retailer accepts returns without tags or original packaging. What’s more, nearly as many said it’s important that retailers accept returns for used items.”

What Consumers Want in Returning Items

Now, consider these questions. Should firms always give full refunds? Should they accept returns without receipts? And should firms always offer free shipping? Aren’t there times when firms’ costs outweigh their benefits?

Recognize Declining Retailers: Three Stages

15 Jan

As we read regularly, many retailers are having tough times. Today, we study how to recognize declining retailers: three stages of decline.

Previously, we discussed other types of failure. For example, Reasons Numerous Startups Fail and Small Businesses and Success/Failure. In addition, we noted how even Apple may retrench: Apple Cuts Back on iPod Product Line. Why? After years of great success, the iPod’s steadily declining. In response, Apple withdrew the iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano. The rapid growth of streaming music caused the decline.

According to Retail Dive, these retailers filed for bankruptcy projection in 2017. Many of the firms continue in a weakened state. But others have gone out of business:

Alfred Angelo
BCBG Max Azria
Charming Charlie
Eastern Outfitters
Gander Mountain
Gordmans stores
Papaya Clothing
Styles For Less
The Limited
Toys R Us
True Religion
Vitamin World
Wet Seal

Now, click the image for a description of each firm’s status.

Recognize Declining Retailers: Three Stages

And view CNN’s video on U.S. malls and shrinking retailers.


    Recognize Declining Retailers: Three Stages

    Though not always considered as such, data analytics must start with knowledge of what to monitor. In the case of declining retailers, it is essential to be aware of their stage of decline.

    With the preceding in mind, let’s look at the framework devised by Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists. That firm operates Retail Turnaround Experts. And it founded the Retail Owners Institute.

    According to Outcalt and Johnson, eight “vital signs” indicate a retailer’s stage of decline. As shown in their chart, these vital signs can be placed into three stages:

    In stage one, retailers have entered decline. This is the best time to modify strategies and tactics.  Why? Because it is easier to turn performance around. By the time retailers move to stage three, it may be too late to fix things. Why? Because the vital signs are so off, it may not be possible to successfully modify them.

    Recognize Declining Retailers: Three Stages

    Professions Perceived as Most Ethical – and Most Unethical

    4 Jan

    Today, we discuss the professions perceived as most ethical – and most unethical. And this builds on our coverage of ethical firms and marketing practices:

    For most of us, the leading study of ethics in the professions is from Gallup. Let’s look at its 2017 U.S. poll results.


    U.S. Professions Perceived as Most Ethical – and Most Unethical

    For several years, Gallup has polled the American public to learn how the ethics of 22 different professions are perceived.

    Before reading further: Which professions do YOU view as the most ethical? And as the most unethical? In alphabetical order, here are the 22 professions:

    (1) Advertising practitioners. (2) Auto mechanics. (3) Bankers. (4) Business executives. (5) Car salespeople. (6) Clergy. (7) Day care providers. (8) Grade school teachers. (9) Judges. (10) Lawyers. (11) Lobbyists. (12) Local officeholders. (13) Medical doctors. (14) Members of Congress. (15) Military officers. (16) Newspaper reporters. (17) Nurses. (18) Nursing home operators. (19) Pharmacists. (20) Police officers. (21) State officeholders. (22) TV reporters.

    After doing your ranking, review Gallup’s December 2017 findings. And study this chart.

    Professions Perceived as Most Ethical - and Most Unethical

    As Gallup reports:

    “For the 16th consecutive year, Americans’ ratings of the honesty and ethics of 22 occupations finds nurses at the top. And more than eight in 10 (82%) Americans describe nurses’ ethics as ‘very high’ or ‘high.’ In contrast, about six in 10 Americans rate members of Congress (60%) and lobbyists (58%) as ‘very low’ or ‘low’.”

    “In sum, a majority of Americans rate six groups as ‘high’ or ‘very high’ for honesty and ethics. Besides nurses, that list includes military officers, grade school teachers, medical doctors, police officers, and pharmacists. Although the rating of pharmacists remains high, it fell 5 points from 2016. And this may reflect the opioid crisis.”

    In 2017, “only members of Congress and lobbyists get majority negative ratings. Yet, the other 14 occupations rate ‘average’. Lawyers, local officeholders, bankers, and auto mechanics have majority ‘average’ marks. Also, the public is divided between positive and average rankings for both judges and clergy. And these two groups require honesty and ethical standards.”


    Purpose-Driven Brands’ Marketing Lessons

    15 Dec

    As we posted a while back: “Marketers are often creative and innovative in developing new products. Sometimes, these ideas play a societally-important role. Thus, we can do well by doing good.One good example is State Farm with its community involvement tag line, “Good neighbors always lend a helping hand.” So today we dig further into purpose-driven brands’ marketing lessons. And they shed light on some best practices.


    Purpose-Driven Brands’ Marketing Lessons

    In general, “doing good” is known as cause-based marketing, social marketing, or purpose-driven marketing. “Doing good” represents any efforts to give back to the community. And many companies deserve praise for their actions in this regard. Let’s look at two of them.

    According to Michael Brenner for Marketing Insider Group:

    “Purpose-driven brands know the best way to make money is to not prioritize profits. Why? Because the only way succeed is to have a purpose.  Brand purpose as a pillar stands tall, unmovable, as the world turns. When you use this as the unifying force of marketing, you tap into a source of inspiration to energize your campaigns. And do that instead of chasing the carrot. Because that happens when business decisions and bottom line needs are what motivate your marketing decisions.”

    Starbucks is a purpose-driven star. As Brenner notes:

    “From 1982 to 2015, Starbucks opened 22.5K stores worldwide under the leadership of Howard Shultz. He stepped down as CEO at the end of 2016. And he was known for sparking the brand’s core visions and keeping those flames alive for decades. ‘What is the role and responsibility of a public company … and how can we catalyze hope in a time when we need more optimism, compassion, and leadership?'”

    Here’s one Starbucks’ initiative.

    Purpose-Driven Brands' Marketing Lessons from Starbucks
    Although it’s a beer maker, Heineken is also a purpose-driven star. Brenner says that:

    “Heineken’s Moderate Drinkers Wanted marketing campaign is helping transform how society views social drinking. There are health effects of binge drinking, dangers of driving under the influence, and the destruction of alcohol addiction. Society has real problems to tackle. Yep, you guessed it: we need a hero. Heineken has stepped up pressure on consumers — and the industry. How? By promoting responsible drinking through moderation.”

    This Heineken video shows its approach.


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