Earlier this month, the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) published figures showing that over 60 per cent of shoppers are less likely to return goods bought over the internet compared to those purchased on the high street.

The survey said that this is partly down to confusion over consumer rights with internet shopping, but according to Graham Charlton of Econsultancy, it could also be because of retailers’ returns policies for online sales.

He argued that customers see retailers that use the same branding in their physical and internet marketing services as a single entity, so having a system that means online purchases cannot be returned in-store is "how not to do it".

Joining up online and offline operations means consumers do not have to wait "an unnecessarily long time" for an exchange or refund – and allow them to come in-store also creates opportunities for up-selling.

Offering the option of returning goods purchased on the web to a high street outlet will also make shoppers more confident about using an ecommerce site in the first place, he added.

According to BIS, UK consumers are the biggest online shoppers in Europe, spending £38 billion in 2009.

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