With German customers currently returning up to 75% of the items they buy online, stores are resorting to new measures to cut costs. Two major online retailers have now said they will start charging customers for returns, and a major association said it expects others to follow.
Uniqlo and Zara charge for returns: any other retailers to watch?
The Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order (BEVH) said it assumed free returns for clothes purchased over the internet would soon be a thing of the past. “We expect the end of free returns that have been allowed until now and which customers also expect,” a spokesperson said. Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Last year, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo introduced a return fee of €2.95 per package for online returns. It was followed a few days ago by Zara, the best-known fashion brand of the Spanish group Inditex, which now charges 1.95 euros per return.
BEVH explained that retailers face higher freight, postage and packaging costs and pass these costs on to customers. “If return costs remain high, Zara and Uniqlo will be first, but not last,” the spokesperson said.
Up to 75% of online purchases are returned to Germany
However, other major retailers in Germany like Amazon, Zalando and Otto said they were not planning to introduce a return fee anytime soon. “At a time when they are further burdened by rising prices for energy and other goods, we certainly will not be asking our customers to pay extra for returns,” a spokesperson for the group said. Otto in response to a request from AFP.
According to Cologne’s EHI business research institute, Germany is Europe’s “returns champion”, with up to 75% of all parcels purchased online ultimately being sent back to the retailer. For clothing purchases, at least 50% of packages are returned. The problem has long been in the limelight as a major source of waste, as returned items are often destroyed rather than resold.