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Retailers Using Stricter Return Policies — Will Customers Turn Away?

Tighter rules may turn off shoppers




iStock, Liubomyr Vorona

Return rates are up in retail recently, both in-store and for e-commerce, and retailers are setting new stricter return policies, as reported by Forbes in an overview on this year’s returns environment.

This year is expected to set a returns record, partly because retail sales are forecast to rise versus last year — some estimate the increase may be as much as 15 percent, driven in part by higher prices, Forbes reports.

That is translating into a returns challenge that has gotten so costly that, according to returns management logistics company goTRG, some 60 percent of retailers are adopting tighter return policies, and some are charging mail and restocking fees.

Retailers that have shortened their regular return windows to a month are Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and J.Crew. Kohl’s has stopped paying for shipping returns by mail. Anthropologie, REI and L.L. Bean (which once promised lifetime returns) charge fees of about $6 for mailed returns, which, according to industry insiders, are only meant to deter returns.

However, tightening these policies may prove tricky. In a recent survey by First Insight, 75 percent of consumers said they would be deterred from shopping at a retailer that charges for returns, and about the same percentage said they expect return windows of 30-60 days.

Click here for the full article from Forbes.

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