The truth is in the figures, 83% of online shoppers will only buy if the returns process is simple. With the constant evolution of customer centric features, more and more retails are adopting this new concept.   

Called ‘Try at Home’, or ‘Home Try-on’, ‘Try now, pay later’, ‘Product test’ or even ‘Wardrobe’, leading online retailers like Etam, Decathlon, Amazon or even Zalando have adopted this service. This option allows customers to selection a number of items, try them at home and only pay for those they decide to keep.

How does the ‘Try at Home’ really work ?

Generally speaking the customer thinks that they want an item, but realise that it is not as expected and needs to return it. For the apparel sector, the average returns rate sits at around 30%. The idea behind ‘try at home’ is not only to reduce this rate, but also to encourage customers to buy (and keep) more items in one order than they would previously have done.

The customer chooses a set number of items and may try them before purchasing, using the principle of a home changing room. However, this is a major challenge to pull off successfully. Customers can return their items for free, without spending a single penny.

The customer is enticed onto the online boutique and given a broad range of choice. He or she simply returns the items that are not right using the different methods provided by the retailer: home pick-up, drop-off at a delivery point, Post Office or return to store.

This initiative not only reduces the number of returns (wrong size, choice of colour) but also customer frustration. Above all, it is a way of improving customer experience as the customer is freer to choose a larger number of products from the comfort of their sofa.  This helps build customer confidence, with the ability to try several items at home (for free !) and return those that are not right (also for free !).

This concept can also help to generate additional sales : once an item has been tried and close to the customer’s wardrobe, the customer is less likely to want to return.  Of course these additional sales help to retailer to increase their turnover and stand out from the others with an innovative concept.

The stakes of this concept

Although this service is still in the test phase for certain retailers, the results have proven to be significant : increased competitivity, impact of innovation, increased sales (and added sales), new customer acquisition, loyalty building, the list goes on.

Most of the tests carried out involve a limited number of customers or items. Used in this way, this concept can be used to test buying trends. This is particularly the case for online retailers with high street stores.

Neverthless, this service requires agile inventory management. This is the case for Etam. Items can be returned in the try at home scheme and then the remaining items sold in the nearest store to the customer, thus reducing the number of journeys between warehouses. This can produce some additional costs, but it is worth calculating the potential gains.

A platinum returns policy

This initiative seems to generate additional sales and greatly increase customer satisfaction. But behind such a high customer promise, lies a huge responsibility for the retailer to provide suitable delivery and returns solutions.

As mentioned previously, ‘Try at Home’ is perfect for retailers with both online and offline stores. However for pureplayer retailers like Amazon and recently Livy, this is also a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd. For clothes and shoes this can be a great way of encouraging development.

It is essential to work with returns service providers which meet the needs of the customer. This is why ShopRunBack offers to help retailers implement this scheme, why above all increases sales.

It is important to bear in mind that ways to return an item make up 65% of the things that a customer will check before buying, and even more so in the case of a try at home scheme where the return is one of the main parts of the concept.


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