|Returns cost fashion retailers £61.52 million per year|
Research reveals that increase in online retail is bringing unforeseen returns costs to fashion sector as shoppers bedrooms replace in store fitting rooms
LONDON, 15th June 2012 – The cost of returning unwanted clothing to UK fashion retailers reached £90.76 million last year, research for Webloyalty revealed. The research, from retail analysts Conlumino, found that the majority of this cost - £61.52 million is being borne by retailers. This represents some 47.4 million purchases returned over the cost of the year. The cost of a further 13.6 million returns, some £29.24 million – was taken on by British consumers.
“Returns are a particular problem in fashion where consumers are now used to ordering multiple items in a range of sizes, colours or cuts in the knowledge that they can easily send back items that they don’t want. In many ways, the home rather than the store has become the fitting room, often at retailer’s expense.”
While many retailers do build in some cost of returns, there is the danger that as remote channels continue to grow, the cost of servicing the consumer also grows. This situation would inevitably erode profitability. The ideal situation for retailers is to minimise the volumes of returns while growing sales. To do this, they may need to revisit how the returns process fits into their multichannel strategy.
Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty UK explains how fashion retailers could make the most of the multichannel environment to minimise returns: “The emerging trend of the bedroom replacing the traditional fitting room should be seen as an opportunity for retailers rather than a barrier to growing digital sales channels.
“Traditional stores have long recognised that giving styling advice in the fitting room can contribute to both customer loyalty and sales growth. The multichannel retail environment is well positioned to bring this styling advice into the consumer’s home. Mobile and tablet channels are the perfect format for providing customers with styling advice and enabling them to share ‘looks’ via social media. In this way, retailers can seek to minimise returns while at the same time increasing engagement and loyalty with consumers. ”
Notes to Editors
About the research
The full report is available on request.
Webloyalty, headquartered in the US, launched in the UK in 2007 and subsequently expanded into France, Germany, Italy and Spain.