“I think the age of free returns is over, in a universal sense. It used to be the case that almost all returns were free. Now, what we’re seeing is a much more patchwork approach. It isn’t as simple for the consumer as it once was,” said Neil Saunders, Managing Director at GlobalData.Over the last few years, brands such as H&M and Zara have started charging for online returns by mail. With shipping and operating costs on the rise, it is crucial for retailers to limit returns as much as possible.
“They’re trying to find ways to prune their expenses. And one of the big expenses, especially for those that operate online, is returns,” Saunders said.Processing a return can cost retailers as much as 39% of the original price. Some companies, such as Amazon, will even let the consumer keep the item they are trying to return in certain cases. With these efforts, it’s also putting a positive effect on the environment. Consumers are becoming a bit more conscious of what they are actually purchasing and how it will make an impact. A key way for online returns to be avoided completely is through brick-and-mortar stores – a hub for shoppers to experience products in-person so they know they’re walking away with the exact item they want. While this change is still in an experiential phase with a lot of retailers, we predict a lot more will soon follow in pursuit. Source: Return Fees – USA Today Photo Credit: Freepik