Retailers to introduce stricter policies to prevent fraudulent returns

ASOS and other leading retailers are tightening their return policies and penalising serial returners.

Yet, new research from the Retail Technology Show found that a third of UK shoppers say serial returners are the most loyal consumers with 32% stating those who return the most are often spending the most.

A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers revealed that millennials are returning an average of 20% of their items per order, while Gen Z is returning an average of 22%.

With the average shopper sending 15% of their order back to the store, the statistics imply that the majority of consumers are in the habit of returning some, if not all, of their items.

The percentage of items returned, according to 1,000 UK shoppers. A survey by Retail Technology Show.

In an article for Inc, writer Wanda Thibodeaux examined the psychology of habitual returners and found they received a hit of dopamine when they receive new deliveries.

Wardrobing – returning wearable items after use to pocket the refund – is becoming a damaging trend in the eyes of retailers. A significant proportion of shoppers have admitted to purchasing clothes online to take social media photos or wear on a one-off occasion before returning.

Although it is not technically illegal, the trend is now being branded as return fraud.

Appino also found that 71% of UK shoppers would avoid online shopping if the store introduced return fees. 

Out of the 1,000 surveyed, 57% of men admitted their concerns about possible return fees being introduced compared with 51% of female shoppers. 

Appino surveyed 1,000 UK shoppers about their thoughts on return fees to protect online retailers.

ASOS blames an increased rate of returns for their dent in online profits last summer, with the company witnessing a 4% growth drop.

Many retailers are now fighting against serial returners with 26% of consumers believing it is the retailers who should take responsibility for preventing returns from being made.

Despite most sellers offering an appealing free returns policy, Zara has introduced a charge of £1.95 per return, encouraging buyers to be more ruthless in making their fashion selections.

ASOS has introduced a ‘blacklist’ of serial returners in order to tackle the issue of abusing the returns policy, with Harrods taking a similar approach.

Sephora and Amazon are tackling the issue by penalising shoppers who are known to the retailers as making too many returns by banning them from making any future purchases.

However, Retail Technology Show’s research shows that only 6% of shoppers have been banned from making a purchase from certain brands, and 15% were Gen Z consumers.

Wardrobing is an indulgence that has significant consequences in a world stricken by the ever-growing threats of climate change. An estimated £23 million returned items are sent to a landfill site each year, generating 750,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions.

Now that most retailers are offering the ‘buy now, pay later’ alternative, it is becoming a financial gamble for fraudulent returners if retailers are less likely to accept their returns.

Image source on Unsplash.

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