Christmas returns create problems for clothing retailers

Between 5% and 10% of clothes are returned to clothing shops, but this can be 30% to 40% for online orders. This creates a large problem for retailers who need to handle these returns, especially after the Christmas season when returns escalate, with many people returning unsuitable Christmas presents.

Online retailing is a highly competitive area. In order to remain competitive, many retailers have lax return policies. Shoppers can return items postage free and are given longer times to send items.

Clothing that has been returned has to be checked and this can result in 25% of returns being thrown away. Some textiles can be recycled, but some retailers throw clothes away and this can have a negative environmental impact. Many items can be restocked for resale, can be sold to discount retailers or donated to charities.

Return departments need flexible storage facilities to deal with fluctuating returns that vary from season to season. They can use easy store heavy duty garment rails that stack together so that they do not take up much room when they are not being used. Retailers can find better ways to organise return processing tables and garment rails to make systems more organised.

Software is available that can help process returns, and this can save some money in handling and administration costs associated with returns. Online shoppers are used to easy return systems and it is unlikely that returns levels can be reduced by much. All retailers can do is improve systems that handle returned clothing items.

Posted by Derek
22nd January 2019
Retail & Warehousing

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