Why emotional spending is behind Boohoo's decision to charge for returns


This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: Why emotional spending is behind Boohoo's decision to charge for returns.

By Brad Houldsworth, Head of Product, Remarkable Commerce.
Returns are an inevitable part of e-commerce, particularly for fashion/clothing retailers given the importance of fit and quality. Even if consumers don’t like it, when it comes to online returns something has got to give.
However, returns are killing retailer margins and they need to take steps to try to preserve their profitability. There’s a long list of UK retailers already charging for returns, including many of our clients, and I suspect that more retailers will add return fees to help offset costs. 
Reducing the environmental impact is also an important consideration for many retailers and consumers will need to get used to seeing return fees, to play their part in helping. 
I think there is greater opportunity for retailers to consider what they could control to generally reduce returns – whether increasing returns options (via stores or elsewhere), better sizing information that eliminates a consumers’ need to order multiple, or engaging with consumers through virtual fitting rooms.
Volume and industry are the key elements worth considering here. For example, in the manufacturing world, a product is very rarely purchased based on emotion, fashion/social trends - they are purchased for their technical ability. Therefore, the purchase is way more considered and correct for its use. With this in mind, you can continue with free returns and you should hope the volume would be low and valid, and you aren't just supplementing the cost of people's purchasing indecision.

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