Product returns are one of the major obstacles to online retailers, according to a study released by APT Strategies.
The report, "Successful eFulfillment: The last Mile in eBusiness" suggests return rates for online consumers can reach up to 30 per cent. This is because e-tailers are racing to establish a front-end online presence without giving sufficient consideration to service issues such as fulfilment, customer service and return processes and systems.
"Our research indicates e-fulfilment is an afterthought driven into the forefront when a crisis occurs," said the report's co-author and APT analyst Paul Koffler. "We recommend that the traditional retailers segregate their bulk delivery systems from the one-to-one Internet channels to compete with dot-com rivals."
APT surveyed 8438 Australians who had shopped online in the past 12 months for the 30-page report.
Koffler has developed a methodology designed for three models of online businesses: pure play e-tailers, click-and-mortar and direct-sell businesses, accounting for the strength and weaknesses of each enterprise.