It’s not what they buy, it’s what they keep. Shopping behaviour has changed forever. No longer are we fighting queues for the changing rooms to fight our way into too- small jeans, then fight the embarrassment of having to return every pair to the assistant who is at best, busy, and at worst, disinterested.
The tables have turned. For consumers, shopping from the comfort of your own armchair, detached from all human contact and with the ability to return every purchase with impunity, is irresistible. And the value of e-commerce sales is increasing rapidly as a result. In the US alone, online clothing sales are predicted to grow by 16.4% by 2016, compared with 13.3% for the ecommerce market as a whole.
Good news, surely, for retailers? Not exactly. This increase in sales is being mirrored by a costly increase in returns, causing an erosion of profits that retailers simply cannot afford to ignore.