SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement unveils new research shedding light on consumer preferences for sustainable returns – and the role of AI-powered personalisation in addressing this growing concern.

With nearly half of UK shoppers expressing a desire for more sustainable return processes, retailers are urged to prioritise environmental considerations to enhance customer loyalty.

According to SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement’s research conducted among over 2,000 UK shoppers, 48% of respondents seek more sustainable returns options. Sustainability has emerged as a significant factor influencing purchasing decisions, with 20% of consumers prioritising it above other considerations.

Impact on Brand Loyalty

The study reveals that sustainability initiatives directly impact brand loyalty, with 47% of UK shoppers expressing greater loyalty towards brands offering sustainable returns processes. From reducing packaging waste to recycling returned items, consumers are increasingly expecting brands to show environmental responsibility.

UK consumers are vocal about their preferences for sustainable returns solutions. Over half (53%) advocate for retailers to resell returned items at lower prices to improve sustainability, while 52% suggest accepting returns at local depots as a more eco-friendly option. However, the majority (66%) express a preference to avoid returns altogether, highlighting the importance of accurate purchases.

Embracing AI-Powered Personalisation

Thomas Harris, Chief Revenue Officer at SAP Emarsys, emphasises the role of AI-powered personalisation in addressing the root causes of returns. By leveraging deep customer insights and previous purchase data, retailers can enhance the shopping experience, enabling consumers to make informed choices and minimise the need for returns.

Returns management is just one aspect of fostering customer loyalty. SAP Emarsys highlights the importance of personalisation as part of an omnichannel strategy in nurturing long-term customer relationships.

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