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德国不爱网购,退货率排欧盟第一

Stefan Nicola, 彭博社 2019年08月13日

在欧洲,没有国家能够在退货方面与德国相比,而这也给包括亚马逊在内的零售商带来了巨大的财务和物流压力。

德国在线时装零售商Zalando半数已售产品都被退了回来。包括《真我男儿风采》春夏2019宣传活动在内的在线时尚专栏,则打算帮助购物者了解自己所采购的物品。图片来源:Kapturing/courtesy of Zalando

德国人在接纳线上购物方面较为缓慢,但他们在购物退货方面却名列前茅。

在欧洲,没有国家能够在退货方面与德国相比,而这也给包括亚马逊在内的零售商带来了巨大的财务和物流压力。到目前为止,亚马逊是德国最受欢迎的在线购物网站,其次是Otto Versand和 Zalando SE。

德国还拥有欧洲最高的发票交易率,这意味着客户只有在收货并决定是否留用之后才会支付款项。这也让他们能够更加方便地在现金易手之前取消购物,并退回货品。

由于退货率达到了约50%,时装零售商Zalando正在尝试通过发布模特服饰穿着视频以及使用机器学习技术为购物者匹配合适的尺码来减少退货量。由高盛集团投资的德国眼镜零售商Mr. Spex会在客户浏览其网站时将镜框放置于客户的头像上,从而让客户通过虚拟方式试戴眼镜。亚马逊则引入了增强现实技术工具,这样客户便可以在点击“马上购买”键之前,看到家具在其家中的摆放效果。

随着欧盟在线零售商争夺试图控制开支的客户,打造一个更加高效的退货系统正在变得日渐重要。班贝克大学的一项调查显示,德国人去年退还了约55亿欧元价值的货品。

德国邮政服务公司Deutsche Post AG也认为在这一方面还有更多的事情要做。

Deutsche Post的首席财务官梅勒尼·克雷斯说:“当前,就服务量来说,这一趋势让我们受益匪浅,因为公司承担了很多退货运输服务。我们必须寻找更加可持续的解决方案,来优化整个退货流程。”

这一情况在德国尤为突出,该国全网销售量的约三分之一被排名前十的电商所瓜分。在欧洲这个最大的经济体,在线购买衣物十分流行,但这也是退货率最高的门类,因为众多购物者会选购超出自身需求的产品,以便在自家舒适地试穿不同的款式。

为了降低成本,各大公司可谓是花样百出。亚马逊曾经威胁,如果德国零售商拒绝为了减少废弃物和运输成本而精简包装,那么他们将被收取更多的费用。Zalando则投资了位于慕尼黑的机器人初创企业Magazino,以提升仓库分拣的效率。

位于科隆的欧洲流通联盟零售业研究院的分析师拉斯·霍法克表示,今后,零售商将不得不拿出各种新办法,来减轻退货的负面影响,例如为购物者提供在实体店退货的选项。

他说:“这对于消费者来说更方便了,而且也给了零售商与消费者面对面交流的机会,从而改善产品保留率。”

有时候,退货甚至会变为一种营销资产。

柏林初创企业Nok与零售商合作,让购物者试用某些高科技产品,例如在柏林当日送达之后试用Krups厨房器械3到7天。如果购物者不喜欢,Nok将再次免费去拿货。Nok的董事总经理波比·维恩表示,即便购物者不保留产品,但他们也将享受到顺畅的送货和退货流程。

他说:“你不必总是在买完东西之后才能知道品牌的好坏。”

PostNord 2018年的数据显示,在欧盟各国中,德国在线购物退货顾客的比例最高,超过了一半,荷兰紧随其后,然后按逐渐下降趋势排名依次是法国、西班牙、意大利、英国、比利时和波兰,均约30%。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审校: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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