SIRAS: Digital Camera Restocking Errors May Increase Returns
By Steve Smith On Jun 20 2011 - 4:01am
REDMOND, WASH. —
Digital cameras that have been sold, returned and sold
again have an unexpectedly high rate of return on the date of purchase, suggesting
that retailers are restocking products which may be unsuitable for resale.
According to a report for TWICE from SIRAS, a provider of product lifecycle
tracking services, the majority of total returns for digital cameras, as well as most
other products, typically occurs in the two to 15-day period following purchase.
However, the largest percentage of cameras returned for the second time is 50
percent higher on the date of purchase than during the following two- to 15-day
“Our analysis showed that items that were restocked and resold had higher
return rates than items sold for the first time,” said Peter Junger, SIRAS president.
“We should be looking for reasons to explain the anomaly. The higher rate of
return is almost certainly accompanied an increased level of customer dissatisfaction,
something retailers are certainly looking to avoid,” he noted
According to Junger, one likely reason for the higher return rate is that new
cameras, which typically have many accessories in the camera package, are being
returned with missing accessories or documentation.
Retailers that take camera returns without going through a contents checklist
for the specific model – provided by the manufacturer or a third party such as
SIRAS – are essentially building in a higher return rate when reselling the returned
Another reason could be “brick-in-box” returns, where a fraudulent consumer returns
an item other than was originally purchased, repackaging the box as though
the item is in new condition. Retailers may not open boxes as part of the returns
process and mistakenly restock that “brick” on the shelf, only for it to be sold to an
unfortunate customer, SIRAS said.
“Aside from the store’s wasted time, there’s the more fundamental fact that it’s
increasingly challenging to attract customers,” said Junger. “If consumers are
buying a product they want only to have to return it because something’s missing,
it can create a negative association with respect to the store. That’s something
no merchant wants.”