Almost 2 in 5 online clothing stores now charge for returns, new data reveals

Press Release: March 07, 2024

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Almost 2 in 5 online clothing stores now charge for returns, new data reveals
BATH, UK. March 7th, 2024 – Q1 is the part of the year that sees a large increase in the number of returns following the festive season, and this can have a big impact on the efficiency of large online stores. 
OrderFlow has compared the length of the ‘cooling off’ period and the number of the top 100 fashion e-commerce brands that offer free online returns vs those that charge. OrderFlow took the top 100 sites within Google to get a strong perspective on the top brands in the sphere. 
The data shows that almost 2 in 5 (39%) of the analysed companies no longer offer free online returns for their websites, this could have a big impact on shoppers looking to return their purchases over the next month. When looking at data from Google Trends and Glimpse searches for the term ‘free returns’ are up 66% over the previous 5 years indicating that the UK public has grown used to the flexibility and have started seeking it out.
 
The length of the returns period offered varies from store to store with 28 days being the most common, 100 days being the longest return period and some only offering the statutory 14 days required by Consumer Contracts regulation being the shortest return period. There were also nuances in the types of returns offered with some only accepting returns through their preferred provider and some refunding the product based on the customer’s delivery preference. 

Mitigate against the impact of returns
According to Shopify, the average return rate for an e-commerce store is 20-30%, this can have a big impact on margins as their are associated costs with processing the return. 
The move towards paid for returns seems to be a move by many stores to reduce the costs they face in processing returns. Having a strong warehouse management system that effectively manages these returns will help reduce the marginal costs and increase profit for your business. 
OrderFlow offers warehouse management solutions for 3PLs and a range of other industries, get in touch to find out more.

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