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德國不愛網購,退貨率排歐盟第一

Stefan Nicola, 彭博社 2019年08月13日

在歐洲,沒有國家能夠在退貨方面與德國相比,而這也給包括亞馬遜在內的零售商帶來了巨大的財務和物流壓力。

德國在線時裝零售商Zalando半數已售產品都被退了回來。包括《真我男兒風采》春夏2019宣傳活動在內的在線時尚專欄,則打算幫助購物者了解自己所采購的物品。圖片來源:Kapturing/courtesy of Zalando

德國人在接納線上購物方面較為緩慢,但他們在購物退貨方面卻名列前茅。

在歐洲,沒有國家能夠在退貨方面與德國相比,而這也給包括亞馬遜在內的零售商帶來了巨大的財務和物流壓力。到目前為止,亞馬遜是德國最受歡迎的在線購物網站,其次是Otto Versand和 Zalando SE。

德國還擁有歐洲最高的發票交易率,這意味著客戶只有在收貨并決定是否留用之后才會支付款項。這也讓他們能夠更加方便地在現金易手之前取消購物,并退回貨品。

由于退貨率達到了約50%,時裝零售商Zalando正在嘗試通過發布模特服飾穿著視頻以及使用機器學習技術為購物者匹配合適的尺碼來減少退貨量。由高盛集團投資的德國眼鏡零售商Mr. Spex會在客戶瀏覽其網站時將鏡框放置于客戶的頭像上,從而讓客戶通過虛擬方式試戴眼鏡。亞馬遜則引入了增強現實技術工具,這樣客戶便可以在點擊“馬上購買”鍵之前,看到家具在其家中的擺放效果。

隨著歐盟在線零售商爭奪試圖控制開支的客戶,打造一個更加高效的退貨系統正在變得日漸重要。班貝克大學的一項調查顯示,德國人去年退還了約55億歐元價值的貨品。

德國郵政服務公司Deutsche Post AG也認為在這一方面還有更多的事情要做。

Deutsche Post的首席財務官梅勒尼·克雷斯說:“當前,就服務量來說,這一趨勢讓我們受益匪淺,因為公司承擔了很多退貨運輸服務。我們必須尋找更加可持續的解決方案,來優化整個退貨流程。”

這一情況在德國尤為突出,該國全網銷售量的約三分之一被排名前十的電商所瓜分。在歐洲這個最大的經濟體,在線購買衣物十分流行,但這也是退貨率最高的門類,因為眾多購物者會選購超出自身需求的產品,以便在自家舒適地試穿不同的款式。

為了降低成本,各大公司可謂是花樣百出。亞馬遜曾經威脅,如果德國零售商拒絕為了減少廢棄物和運輸成本而精簡包裝,那么他們將被收取更多的費用。Zalando則投資了位于慕尼黑的機器人初創企業Magazino,以提升倉庫分揀的效率。

位于科隆的歐洲流通聯盟零售業研究院的分析師拉斯·霍法克表示,今后,零售商將不得不拿出各種新辦法,來減輕退貨的負面影響,例如為購物者提供在實體店退貨的選項。

他說:“這對于消費者來說更方便了,而且也給了零售商與消費者面對面交流的機會,從而改善產品保留率。”

有時候,退貨甚至會變為一種營銷資產。

柏林初創企業Nok與零售商合作,讓購物者試用某些高科技產品,例如在柏林當日送達之后試用Krups廚房器械3到7天。如果購物者不喜歡,Nok將再次免費去拿貨。Nok的董事總經理波比·維恩表示,即便購物者不保留產品,但他們也將享受到順暢的送貨和退貨流程。

他說:“你不必總是在買完東西之后才能知道品牌的好壞。”

PostNord 2018年的數據顯示,在歐盟各國中,德國在線購物退貨顧客的比例最高,超過了一半,荷蘭緊隨其后,然后按逐漸下降趨勢排名依次是法國、西班牙、意大利、英國、比利時和波蘭,均約30%。(財富中文網)

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

Germans were slow to embrace online shopping, but they lead the pack sending back unwanted goods.

No other European country returns more packages than Germany, creating a massive financial and logistical problem for retailers including Amazon.com Inc.—by far the country’s top online shopping destination—followed by Otto Versand, and Zalando SE.

Germany also has Europe’s highest rate of invoice transactions— meaning customers only pay for goods once they decide what to keep after delivery. That makes it easier to abort a purchase and return the product before any money changes hands.

Fashion retailer Zalando is trying to cut down on returns—about half its sales are sent back—by posting videos of models wearing the apparel and using machine learning technology to match shoppers with the right sizes. Mr. Spex, a German spectacle retailer backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., lets customers “virtually” try on glasses, placing frames over clients’ headshots as they browse its website. And Amazon has introduced augmented reality tools so that shoppers can see how a piece of furniture looks in their home before they decide to click the “buy now” button.

Creating a more efficient return system is becoming increasingly important as the EU’s online retailers vye for customers try to keep expenses in check. Germans returned about 5.5 billion euros worth of goods last year, a study by the University of Bamberg found.

Deutsche Post AG, the German postal service, agrees that more needs to be done.

“At the moment, in terms of volumes, we’re benefiting from this trend as we carry a lot of return shipments,’’ said Deutsche Post Chief Financial Officer Melanie Kreis. “We have to find more sustainable solutions to optimise the whole returns process.”

The situation in Germany, where the 10 biggest online shops account for about a third of all web sales, is particularly pronounced. Buying clothing online is popular in Europe’s largest economy, but it’s also the category that gets returned the most because many shoppers buy more than they need to try on different garments in the comfort of their own home.

Companies are being forced to get creative in order to keep costs down. Amazon has threatened to charge German vendors more if they refuse to streamline packaging in a bid to cut waste and shipping costs. Zalando has invested in Magazino, a Munich-based robotics startup to make warehouse sorting more efficient.

Down the road, retailers will have to come up with new ways to take the pain out of returns—like offering shoppers the option of returning items in actual stores, said Lars Hofacker, an analyst at EHI Retail Institute in Cologne.

“That’s more convenient for customers and it gives the retailer an opportunity to talk to them in person, improving retention,” he said.

Sometimes, returns can even turn into a marketing asset.

Nok, a Berlin startup, works with retailers to let shoppers trial select tech gadgets, such as testing a Krups kitchen machine for three to seven days after a same-day delivery in the German capital. If they don’t like it, Nok picks it up again, free of charge. Even when a product isn’t kept, shoppers will have experienced a smooth delivery and return process, said Bobby Wann, Nok’s managing director.

“You don’t always have to buy something to like a brand,” he said.

While Germany leads EU countries in the share of online shoppers who return goods—just more than half—the Netherlands is close behind, followed in a gradual descending order by France, Spain, Italy, the U.K., Belgium, and Poland, with around 30%, according to 2018 PostNord data.

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