Holiday Sales are Increasing Retail Returns
By Lena Mayberry
As we've seen a surge in reports about seasonal returns this year, we decided to delve deeper and investigate the causes of the increase, the steps that apparel brands are taking to address it, and its potential implications for shoppers and the future of these brands.
As the holiday season approaches, many retailers are gearing up for an influx of shoppers looking to take advantage of sales and discounts. But with this increased activity also comes an increase in returns, as shoppers often end up buying items that don't fit or don't meet their expectations.
This trend of rising returns has become a major challenge for retailers, particularly in the fashion industry. Early data reveals that worldwide returns of items purchased during Black Friday sales were up 60% this year during the weekend. The plethora of seasonal sales brought on by an excess of inventory is, at least in part, to blame for this. And with more and more shoppers opting to buy online and return in-store, the problem is only getting worse.
To combat this trend, many retailers are making their return policies more strict, particularly in the aftermath of the holiday season. A recent survey by goTRG found that 60% of retailers are making bold changes to their returns policies to help mitigate the high cost of processing their eCommerce returns. Some common tactics include limiting the time frame in which customers can return an item, requiring proof of purchase, and imposing restocking fees for certain items.
Top 3 Returns Policy Changes:
While these measures may be necessary for retailers to protect their bottom line, they can also create frustration and dissatisfaction among customers who may feel that their rights are being infringed upon. In particular, customers who are used to a certain level of flexibility and convenience when it comes to returning items may be disappointed by the stricter policies.
In addition to the potential impact on customer satisfaction, retailers should also be aware that strict return policies can have other consequences. For example, customers who are unable to return an item they are not satisfied with may be more likely to leave a negative review or share their experience with others, potentially damaging the retailer's reputation.
In the long run, this could lead to a decline in customer loyalty and sales. It is important for retailers to strike a balance between protecting their interests and providing a positive customer experience.
With retailers introducing stricter return policies to cope with the issue, it begs the question: Is this a short-term fix, or is this the new reality for shoppers? How will customers respond?
What if retailers didn’t have to compromise the customer’s experience to mitigate returns?
With eCommerce growing every year, the channel requires new solutions to curb the issue, as eCommerce faces higher return rates than in-store.
But there is hope on the horizon in the form of fashion technology. By leveraging new technologies like virtual try-on and size recommendation tools, retailers can help shoppers make more informed decisions and reduce the number of returns.
Customers may virtually try on items, for instance, to see how they would appear on them before making a purchase. This is very useful for fitting clothing and other products like glasses, headwear, and shoes. Virtual try-on can assist in lowering the quantity of returns due to fit challenges by giving a more realistic image of how the item will appear on the customer.
On the other hand, size recommendation tools use data from past purchases and customer feedback to provide personalized size recommendations for each shopper. This can help shoppers avoid purchasing the wrong size and reduce the number of returns due to sizing issues.
In addition to reducing returns, fashion technology can also improve the overall shopping experience for customers. By providing more accurate and personalized information, retailers can help shoppers feel more confident in their purchase decisions and increase customer satisfaction.
This holiday season may be a wake-up call for retailers. By leveraging fashion technology like virtual try-on and size recommendation tools, retailers can help shoppers make more informed decisions and reduce the number of returns. In the long run, this can not only save retailers money but also improve the overall shopping experience for customers. As the cost of processing orders increases and stores have more inventory than they can sell during the holiday season, the right returns management solution can help turn some of the losses from this season into revenue opportunities.
If you have any inquiries, want more details, or want to test out Couture Technologies' Virtual Try-On solutions go to: couturetechnologies.com