EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Gain a return on returns. Reduce, reuse, resell - how retailers can transform returns from a profit drain to a profit driver
UK retailers have just experienced their first Black Friday in three years that has been free from Covid restrictions. With a global cost of living crisis in full swing, however, it was unclear whether shoppers would hold off or take advantage of the bargains to help spread the cost of Christmas.
In the end the shoppers did come out. Barclaycard Payments (which handles £1 in every £3 spend on cards in the UK) reporting a 3.2% uplift in the volume of transactions it handled on Friday 25 November, versus 2021. Cyber Monday transactions were up 5%.
But there’s a downside. With e-commerce, about 30% of fashion orders are returned, according to global strategists Roland Berger, so more sales means more returns. And with the true cost of returns estimated to be around £20 for a £30 item, returns are expected to cost British fashion retailers some £7 billion this year.
On top of this, the waste generated by returns means the cost to the planet, as well as retailers’ bottom lines, is getting unsustainable.
If your action plan on returns is to cross your fingers and hope you don’t get too many, then you’re in for a tough ride.
But there are many pro-active steps retailers can take not only to reduce the returns burden but also use it to drive future growth.
In this report we look at:
- The true cost of returns: for a £30 item, this can be as much as £20
- Reducing returns: number of different measures that can help reduce returns
- Reuse returns: Innovations that can restore damaged and care-worn clothing to its former glory
- Recommerce: “second life” opportunities to add a new revenue stream to your business
To make a true success of your returns strategy, you need to bring your customers, as well as your suppliers and partners, on the ride with you. In doing so, you could just open up a whole new world of opportunity for your brand without the need to create more new product.
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