There’s a new trend spreading amidst customers in the UK, and its costing retailers in the country a lot of money, as it forces them to bring someone in to handle RMA logistics, lots of it.
Rebound Returns, an RMA logistics company, conducted a survey, asking 2,000 consumers across the country whether or not they’ve committed ‘wardrobing’, where they purchase an item to wear once then return it for a full refund. Notably, 13% of their respondents answered yes.
Reportedly, ‘wardrobing’ is costing retailers across the country £800m annually. According Rebound, retailers have opted to follow e-commerce giant Amazon in dealing with customers indulging in ‘wardrobing’. Like the major company, retailers in the UK are banning customers who they’ve found to be repeatedly returning items.
The fashion industry has been struggling to conduct returns efficiently, with retailers in the UK collectively spending around £6.6bn annually for such services, hiring a company that handles RMA logistics being only one of many additional steps.
Retailers have also given their opinion on ‘wardrobing’, with 62% of them saying that it’s made a significant impact on their costs, while 23% said that the impact was very significant.
Consumers aged 25-34 were the ones most likely to engage in “wardrobing”, with 21% of them admitting to it, compared to the 6% listed by the respondents aged over 45.
Rebound Director of Data Innovation Vicky Brock suggested that a data-driven policy was the best option for retailers to deal with the issue. She says that, while it’s tempting to ban shoppers for repeated returns, that wastes the lifetime value of customers. Effect returns strategies, she explains, require a nuanced, data-driven approach, which will highlight customers who ‘wardrobe’ but keep more products that they return.
Brock says that banning repeat returners runs a risk of alienating shoppers who actually spend more than they return.
Worldwide Business Research notes that returns is a key issue for retailers around the world, with up to 30% of all goods ordered sent back.
Fashion, being a fickle industry, however, got hit the worst, with as much as half of all fashion-related products sent back, which amounts to about $260bn worth of stock in the US alone.
On top of that, the US National Retail Federation says that about 95% of items returned aren’t resold, which results in about a third of all goods returned ending up sitting in a landfill somewhere.