A Word About Returns Andrew Wilkinson

This is what Google says:

Free returns. It’s a huge selling point for online retailers to entice potential customers, making purchases as seamless as possible.

But e-commerce returns are a messy, wasteful process. Not only do retailers lose hundreds of billions in revenue each year, the environmental impact is startling.

Very few experts have been able to quantify the waste generated in regions like Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, but the numbers in the U.S. are sobering: in 2020 alone, an estimated 2.6 million tonnes of returns ended up in landfills, according to a report from Optoro. The process of shipping returned items led to 16 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that year. That’s equivalent to the emissions generated by powering two million homes for a year.

Industry experts estimate that about one-quarter of returns are discarded because it’s cheaper to dump them than process and resell.

And the problem is getting worse. In the U.S. in 2021, for instance, consumers returned one-fifth of all online retail purchases. That represents $218 billion in ‘lost’ sales, more than double the value of the previous year.

Retailers are now starting to examine the sustainability of their returns and exploring ways to minimise them without sabotaging sales. The industry is also trying to change the consumer mindset to encourage fewer returns. In May, for example, fashion retailer Zara began charging for online returns in the U.K., although returns to its physical stores remain free.

Servicing a Return is one of the worst possible outcomes for a business of any size but particularly so for small businesses like ours.

The thing is that not only do we lose the margin we might have made from the sale (and after all that’s the only way we can keep in business), the payment service provider (Visa, Mastercard, Amex etc) keep their percentage of the original sale too.

But worse than this is the charge that our suppliers charge us to accept the return. This is typically 25% so on a £500 sale we physically have to pay them £125.

So instead of making anything, we end up paying to make the sale!

Marketplace giants like Amazon have made the buying public think that returning items is victimless but they’re not the ones paying and that’s before one considers the environmental impact of many extra courier journeys.

So please do make sure that the items you are buying are in fact right for you.

Thank you.

Credit : Source Post

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