The return percentage in fashion is the highest of all types of products – it is between 20 – 50%. The main reasons are “it doesn’t fit” and failure to meet expectations. The average return costs differ on average from 12.50 – 19.51 per order. Where the costs for small businesses are even higher because the logistics contracts are less good.
This return problem starts with a twofold problem. First of all, there is a big problem with sizes in the fashion industry. The dimensions differ per brand because they use their own standards and no proper processes have been set up. In addition, many retailers have started to negotiate flexible conditions when it comes to returns. Customers have now become accustomed to this and consider this to be the norm. The problem with sizes is beyond the influence of retailers, but there are opportunities in return policy.
The return process can be seen as part of the total customer journey. For example, retailers could use a differentiated return policy based on customer segmentation. By collecting data from the entire customer journey, a difference can be made in the return policy. For example, the group of one-time buyers in practice has a much higher return percentage than returning customers. Ultimately, the return policy is also part of the entire company proposition.
At the moment, many retailers use the same return policy and therefore set up the process in a similar way with the same conditions. The return proposition should be integrally linked to the business strategy. This would mean that there is consistency between the strategy of the webshop and / or store and the return policy. So often the customer just gets the money back, regardless of the condition of the product. In addition, insights from the returns process can be used to take measures that can prevent new returns and at the same time make customers aware.
To do this, two different types of data must be collected. Firstly, data must be collected about the interaction with the customer, such as what the customer is oriented towards, what the customer ultimately buys and how this is handled. In addition, data must be collected about returns and the condition of the product when it is returned. In this way, we learn more about the value of a product and whether it can still be re-sold.
It is also advised to make consumers aware of the impact of returns. Many consumers find online returns very normal and do not realize what the costs are, how it affects value evaluation and the environment. In addition to making the impact aware, the customer can also be better informed to make a better and more conscious choice. When providing more information, attention should be paid to product sizes and customer expectation management.
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