The True Cost Of Returns - The top three are the worst in our opinion, and they may not be what you think.
Face it, with the online world that we are now used to shopping in, we all have ordered something where we think, "If I don't like it, I'll just return it."
In a recent study it was found that 40% of online shoppers buy multiple items with the intent of returning all but one of them. 40%!
Unfortunately, with online retailing, this is a cost of doing business, a bottom line 10% cost. There are many costs that, as an average consumer myself, I just didn't think of.
Let me just get the retailer aspect over and done with. As an online retailer, selling through our own website and through other online platforms, we know that returns are a way of life, averaging a 30% rate to many brands, and we figure that into the price, all brands do, so, the consumer ultimately pays the cost.
Returns are usually not resalable. Even if not used, the packaging or the product may be damaged. These products may be given away to friends and family, and we try to do that, but not being able to resell them is figured into the cost of doing business and therefore also increases the cost to the consumer.
Here are our three main pet peeves of returns:
Number Three - Most returns, resalable or not, end up in a landfill. 84% of them.
When you send a return back to a major online retailer, including Amazon or Walmart, most brand owners or sellers do not get the product back. Instead it is earmarked to be "destroyed," a.k.a. thrown out, tossed, trashed. Not only does this cost the brand, and as mentioned, increases the cost to the consumers, but it adds to the garbage issue, the microplastics issue, the pollution issue.
Even if the product is recyclable, the odds are pretty negligible that it will be. Instead, it is added to a landfill, probably inside of its original packaging to languish there for an eternity.
Number Two - The cost of "Free Shipping for Returns"
So, you're thinking "well, it doesn't cost me to return it." Well, it does.
In sticking with our costs paradigm, you're catching on that the brand pays for and figures in the price of returns into the costs of their products. This includes the shipping. So, we, the consumer, pay for the return, one way or another. (Free Shipping programs through major retailers is fodder for another blog post)
Number One - The Earth Pays
Yes, The Earth. Our Environment. And not only by creating more garbage.
Figure the amount of fuel it takes for all the needless returns being made each and every day. All this adds pollution to our environment. It can and should be avoided.
While you may think it is just one small item here and there, each and every one of us can make a difference.
Thinking its just another item on the truck and the truck is going anyway is just misguided. Less returns, less trucks needed for the returns. Its that simple.
Do a little more research to narrow down your product choice before purchasing. Double check all the measurements, whether its a blouse, a pair of shoes or our Well Life Pet Water Bottle.
Ask yourself if it is absolutely necessary to return a product. Is the color just slightly off what you had imagined or your monitor showed you? Is it a fraction of an inch longer or shorter than you thought?
Instead of returning, why not just contact the seller and see if you can work something out?
Of course, there will always be returns, damages do occur, but the entire "I can just return it" mindset really needs to be carefully evaluated and rethought. By all of us.