Surveys by Publications:
Footwear InsightTextile InsightOutdoor InsightSports InsightSportstyle
Consumer Survey
Q&A: Experience on Returns
Q&A: Online retailer returns
survey

Let The Shoes Tell The Story

When it comes to boots,  consumers want them to be work-ready.  We asked consumers what they look for in their boots, and the results were illuminating. Most respondents said the boots they regularly bought were for function: cold weather boots, rain boots, work boots or hiking boots. (22 percent said they regularly bought fashion boots.) Of all the qualities shoppers looked for, durability was the most important. We also asked consumers how much the return process factored into their shopping decisions. A majority (69 percent) said that a given retailer’s return policy factors into their purchase. Read on for more insights into what consumers are looking for — and what they’re taking back. The survey, conducted by MESH01, included 1118 consumers ages 18 to 60.
CONSUMER SHOPPING HABITS
What types of boots do you regularly buy?
What type of stores do you shop for the boots that you regularly buy?
What features are most important to you when choosing which boots to purchase?
When shopping for boots, how important is an anti-slip outsole to your purchase?

COMMENTS

“I live in a rural location, so I’m just as likely to have to trek gravel and mud as I do retail floors.” Female / 38

Slipping on a hike can have devastating consequences.” Male / 50

When buying a pair of boots, do you also purchase...
If you purchased any of the additional items, did you select the items....?
When shopping for boots, do you use the same sizing as your shoes, athletic or casual footwear, or do you have your feet measured at the store?
In general, does a retailer’s return policy factor into whether or not you purchase there?
How long did you have the item(s) before you returned it?

“If I'm unsure about the boots, a store having a final sale policy will discourage me from buying them before further research. If I know I like them, a store having a warranty policy is very reassuring as well.” Female / 19

“If there is a “no return” policy,  I shop elsewhere.” Female / 56

“In the case of online, I expect free returns. From brick-and-mortar stores the return policy isn’t as important because I already know the boots fit and that I like them.” Female / 37

“For online purchases, this is an absolute necessity, unless I am replacing footwear with an identical pair. When buying in a store, this is still an important consideration, but not an absolute must.” Male / 55

“I like to order online, try it on at home and if not satisfied, return the product.” Female / 38

“It is really difficult to tell if a shoe is right for you without wearing it for a little bit of time. It's nice to be able to take them home and try them out and if they don't work, be able to return them.” Female / 24

“If I'm unsure about the boots, a store having a final sale policy will discourage me from buying them before further research. If I know I like them, a store having a warranty policy is very reassuring as well.” Female / 19

“If there is a “no return” policy,  I shop elsewhere.” Female / 56

“In the case of online, I expect free returns. From brick-and-mortar stores the return policy isn’t as important because I already know the boots fit and that I like them.” Female / 37

“For online purchases, this is an absolute necessity, unless I am replacing footwear with an identical pair. When buying in a store, this is still an important consideration, but not an absolute must.” Male / 55

“I like to order online, try it on at home and if not satisfied, return the product.” Female / 38

“It is really difficult to tell if a shoe is right for you without wearing it for a little bit of time. It's nice to be able to take them home and try them out and if they don't work, be able to return them.” Female / 24

Quotes

Was the experience returning a product positive or negative in your opinion?

61% POSITIVE

“Not difficult, and exchanged for correct size.” Male / 26

“Very fast and easy. They asked the reason for the return and credited me back immediately.” Female / 48

“They gave me a refund even though I couldn’t find my receipt — very helpful.” Female / 24

“The retailer was very
good about taking back the item, offering to fix it or exchange it.” Male / 28

8% NEGATIVE

“When you buy name brand products at higher cost (especially those you’ve had previously good experiences/long lasting), you don’t expect to waste time returning them.” Male / 41

“The return process was easy and the clerk was great, but I really dislike returning items in general. I feel like it is a waste of time for me and I know it isn’t good for the retailer I bought the product from.” Female / 43

30% DID NOT RETURN
Quotes

When you purchase footwear online, do you expect to pay for the shipping of returned items?

14% YES

“Yes but I always try to find deals when there is free shipping.” Female / 32

“Unless the issue is a result of the manufacturer’s defect, error, or other issue not caused by me.” Male / 45

“Why should the retailer pay for your mistakes? If they sent you the wrong size it is one thing, but if you buy footwear and don’t end up liking it, how is it their fault?” Male / 22

“Especially if I got free shipping to my home, I expect they won’t want to pay for me to return them.” Female / 38

“Of course I expect to pay. I understand I’m taking a chance purchasing online and it’s my obligation to pay for shipping if the reason for return is due to my choices and not a manufacturer error.” Female / 34

“I’d rather have the shoe be less expensive than have the retailer cook in a return fee.” Male / 28

“If it’s due to a defect in the product I don’t expect to pay but if it’s because I just didn’t want them, then yes, I expect to pay.” Female / 31

69% NO

“I can expect to pay for shipping, but I should NOT have to pay for a return.”
Male / 30

“Lower costs associated with online shopping. Returns are factored into pricing.” Male 50

“No for defective boots or comfort, yes for wrong size.” Male 37

“If I have to pay for return shipping, it often deters me from taking a risk with sizing/fit of new footwear.” Male 33

“An online return should cost the same as a brick and mortar shoe return.” Female / 54

“Most places I shop offer free returns with online shopping, so it’s become something I expect.” Female / 24

“The ability to try on, and ship a return for free factors into my decision making.” Male 55

“If I pay for shipping in the first place, I expect the return shipping to be covered. If the initial purchase includes free shipping, then I expect to pay for return shipping.” Female / 43

7% DO NOT PURCHASE ONLINE