Debunked! Top Ten Online Apparel Returns Myths Ripped Apart

The ecommerce industry is set to breach $370 billion in sales per year in the U.S. by 2017, according to the most recent social media ecommerce statistics that are setting the benchmark for online shopping trends. One of the most popular items that can be bought online is apparel. But online apparel returns are also the most common of all returns made, too, with about 35% of all clothing items that are ordered online ultimately being returned by the consumer.

E-retailers have forever and a day shunned the online apparel returns process because they mistakenly buy into a boatload of myths that convolute the underlying actuality. In truth, returns don’t actually cost you money – they make you money in the form of increased loyalty, enhanced consumer trust and confidence, and long term retention and word-of-mouth as well as social sharing.

To better help you understand why offering hassle-free online apparel returns is no longer a consideration – it’s a must-do element of running any successful online store – we’ve compiled this list of the top ten myths surrounding online apparel returns. Use it to improve your process and attract more customers and conversions.

#1: Returns Cost Me Money

The most common misperception about online apparel returns is that they will cost you money. The truth is that, yes, they will cost you some money upfront in the form of the return shipping cost and restocking cost (if you are offering truly free returns). But in the long run, they make you money.

A CNBC report found that offering free online returns can increase profit by at least 300% or more. The study followed two large online retailers over 49 months, finding that the average spend per consumer increased by $620-$2,500 from offering free online apparel returns.

#2: Returns Are a Hassle for Everyone

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Returns are only a hassle for everyone when there are no logistics involved. In reality, big stores like Amazon, Trunk Club and Zappos have integrated online apparel return systems in place that protects their bottom line. Customers can simply revisit the site and process a return in just a few short steps. The software then provides the logistics, including tracking the package, generating return shipping labels, tracking numbers and more. With synergy, online apparel returns are hassle-free for all parties involved.

#3: Most Customers Don’t Read Our Returns Policy

The reality is that over 60% of online shoppers will take a look at your returns policy before they make a purchasing decision. According to a white paper that was created by Web Marketing Today, over 88% of all U.S. adults that shop online said that a convenient returns policy was “somewhat important,” “important,” or “very important” in them making a buying decision. And 92% said that when convenient returns are offered, they are more likely to shop from that store again in the future.

#4: Returns Are Usually the Customer’s Fault

It’s easy to play the blame game. But it’s a dangerous game to play with your customers, the very backbone of your business model. Most e-retailers are unaware that 65% of the time the return is their fault, according to a report by Internet Retailer.

  • 23% of the time it’s because the wrong item was received.
  • 22% of the time it’s because the item was different than advertised online.
  • 20% of the time it’s because a damaged item was received.

#5: Most Returns Are Made by One-Off Shoppers

Some e-retailer believe that online apparel returns are inconvenient to their bottom line because they think that they are namely made by one-time buyers. But such couldn’t be further from the truth. An ABC News report found that the most loyal buyers make the most returns; not the other way around.

#6: The Returns Policy I Offer Doesn’t Affect Sales

Think that your returns policy barely influences or affects sales? Think again. A UPS study that was conducted by Forrester found quite the opposite. The study concluded that over 80% of online consumers were likelier to make a purchase from an online store that offered convenient and hassle-free returns.

#7: Shoppers Don’t Think About Returns

As a matter of fact, most shoppers do ponder what returns policy that you offer. As stated above, over 60% will take the time to read that policy before making a buying decision. A related Washington Post report found that offering convenient online apparel returns improves shopper loyalty exponentially, and can create a spike in sales.

#8: People Don’t Care About Free Return Shipping

Free return shipping plays a large role in attracting more sales and with improving customer confidence. A Fortune 3 study found that 87% of shoppers are more likely to make a purchase at an online store when free return shipping is being offered. Those same shoppers are also likely to make repeat purchases in the future, telling of how an online product returns policy directly influences future sales.

#9: My Returns Policy Doesn’t Influence Future Sales

Your returns policy absolutely influences future sales. Not only does offering free shipping on returns increase conversion rates by a whopping 87%, it also attracts repeat buyers. Given the studies provided above, the simple addition of a free returns policy has the power to supercharge your sales by as much as a staggering 357%.

#10: Stores Get Sales with a Bad Returns Policy

A bad returns policy is the same thing as charging too much for your shipping or not offering competitive rates on the products that you market to consumers. The aforementioned UPS study above also found that over 81% of consumers are loyalists to online stores that offer a good returns policy.

Infographic: Returns Management & Why it Matters

Learn more about why you want to offer hassle-free online apparel returns. This detailed infographic breaks it all down for you with an illustrated guide that can help you better understand how your return policy is directly associated with your conversion funnel. Learn more about ReadyReturns online apparel returns management software.

Online Apparel Returns

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