UK consumers feel increasingly frustrated and disappointed about returning garments.
Our research uncovered that fit was the main reason that consumers had to return items with a staggering 80% of returns being made for this reason.
Almost half of the customers in our sample admitted ordering the same item in multiple sizes in an attempt to overcome fit issues when buying online. However this may still not be enough as retailers are increasingly accused of not providing accurate sizing.
The Daily Mail recently put high street stores to the test and found that many retailers utilise “vanity sizing” to make consumers think they are a smaller size and therefore encourage them to buy more. The full article can be accessed here
By using this method of sizing retailers may be creating more problems for themselves when it comes to e-commerce sales as this will surely only increase the number of returns they receive and consequently increase their costs.
Customers were also left frustrated by poor product description and or photographs on the retailer’s website contributed to 55% of returns:
There could be some improvements in photographs, measurements or articles, it can be difficult to tell an items exact colour, feel or fit
Retailers should be more careful to avoid returns of this nature as this problem can be solved relatively simply if they are aware of a particular issue. This is where customer recommendations and reviews are key as this tool can inform the e-commerce team on any issues with a particular product. Also features such as the “catwalk view” used by e-tailer ASOS where customers can see the garment in motion and would allow customers to gain a better understanding of fit and style.
Survey results also demonstrated that customers are unaware of what happens to products when they are returned. Over a quarter of consumers never think about what happens to their returned items, and almost 75% assume they go back on the shop floor. However the returns process is often much more complex and costly than this and if consumers realised the implications of returning items they might buy more carefully in future!
Posted by Ellie 3/8/12