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Siras: Same-Day Returns Jumped On Black Friday


Checkout lines
weren’t the only busy place on Black
Friday. It turns out that returns counters
were humming, too. And in a many cases,
it seems customers may have walked
from one line directly to the other.

Nearly 70 percent of products returned
on Black Friday this year were
purchased that day, and more than 40
percent of those returns were made
within six hours of purchase, according
to an analysis of 2011 Black Friday
retail data conducted by Siras, the provider
of product registration, return validation
and lifecycle tracking services,
based here.

The analysis, which encompasses
millions of retail transactions at major
retailers employing Siras’ technology,
also revealed that 28 percent of Black Friday returns occurred within just three
hours of the sale, indicating that many
consumers start making returns even
before leaving the store or going home
from shopping.

“On a typical day at retail for consumer
electronics, 14 percent of the
products being returned were bought
earlier the same day,” said Peter Junger,
Siras president. “On Black Friday, it was
69 percent — almost five times that figure.
Clearly, some people defer going
to a store on Black Friday just to make
a return, and the intense sales activity
of the day makes it inevitable that we
see an increase in the proportion of
date-of-sale returns. But the difference
is remarkable. One could easily speculate
that many shoppers went to scoop
up good deals without being sure what
they would keep.”

Junger said that based on total sales
and returns of items tracked by Siras,
date-of-purchase return rates for items
purchased on Black Friday are actually
29 percent lower than on a typical day.
However, he said, the increase in sales
volume – 20 to 30 times higher on Black
Friday – meant that stores might be handling
four or more times the number of
returns of electronics they take in on an
average day.

“For families that make an outing of
Black Friday shopping, many were probably
getting as many of the items on
their checklist as they could and then,
based on what they were able to get at
what price, deciding what to hold onto,”
said Junger.

“Of course, given the sheer volume of returns
on Black Friday, retailers need to be
sure to confirm the returns are legitimate,
since the frenetic pace of the day could
make it easier for someone to try and slip in
a fraudulent or ineligible product.”