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‘Serial returners’ hit online womenswear retailers hardest

More than half of shoppers who bought any type of clothing online in the last six months sent at least one item back, rising to almost two-thirds of consumers who bought women’s clothing, according to new research.

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online shop

These ‘serial returners’ are blamed for pushing up prices, found new research compiled by retail marketing agency Savvy for BBC Radio 4 across 1,000 UK households.

It cited research from Barclaycard that found one in five online retailers has increased prices to cover the cost of managing and processing returns.

The Savvy research also found that nearly 40% of UK shoppers believe the high street or shopping centre closest to their home has declined in the past two to four years, while 59% said they don’t visit traditional bricks-and-mortar stores as much as they used to because of online shopping.

However, 91% responded that there will always be a place for physical stores and 85% said that online retailers can never recreate the experience of shopping in a store.

“There’s no doubt about it,” said Savvy insights director Alastair Lockhart, “demographic shifts, improving technology and retail innovation will ensure the continuing growth of online retailing, but reassuringly, the high street and shopping centres will still have a role - albeit a different one – to play.

“The bottom line however, is that retailers can ill-afford to stand still and rely on a long standing customer base. Instead, they must evolve with the times and reinvent themselves.”


Readers' comments (1)

  • Fab Frocks

    Our experience is that size is generally the issue rather than not liking the style. With so many boutique labels out there customers often don't refer to the size chart so consequently size is the reason for return. There are also some labels that don't issue a size chart so that isn't useful either.

    The other factor is that UK consumers are not used to having clothing altered so if the fit isn't perfect they send it back. A lifting of the shoulders, dart on the bust or taking in at the waist would almost always have a positive impact but acceptance of the fit of high street clothing means this just isn't considered. This of course is where the in-store experience makes a big difference.

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