By Dr Jonathan Gorst
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the busiest online shopping days of the year. But when you change your mind and return a product, the real cost is much more than the postage.
When people buy clothes online, they might buy up to six variants of one item. That’s three tee shirt sizes in two colours.
It makes sense — sizes vary from retailer to retailer, and some colours appear different on screen. Also, buying six probably means the customer will get free shipping. They simply return the five surplus shirts within a few days, receiving their refund shortly after.
For retailers, the process isn’t so simple. If they’ve offered free shipping, then each delivery costs approximately £4 each way. That means a £8 loss can be made from a single return. And then a courier is hired, admin is undertaken, and clothes may need to be repressed, repaired and repackaged. For cheaper items like tee shirts or accessories, this can all have a big impact on profit margins.
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