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How fashion brands can minimize returns without charging for them

Shoppers will return nearly $280 billion worth of online merchandise this year, representing 26.5% of e-commerce purchases. By contrast, returned merchandise accounted for 19.8% of all e-commerce spending in 2019, the last year before the pandemic forced many shoppers to buy more online (Vogue Business).

It’s no secret that fashion brands are constantly looking for ways to combat this issue, going as far as charging customers for the returns they make online or in stores. In this blog post we discuss two technologies that can help you minimize returns without having to charge for them.

How fashion brands can minimize returns without charging for them

Retailers are losing serious money when customers return items. It is time-consuming and costly to process returns, especially if there is a prepaid shipping label involved. Also, returned items may not be able to be sold again because they’re damaged or past their season. Oftentimes when returns are accepted, they end up piling on shelves or discarded which leads to a bigger issue of textile waste.

For consumers, easy and free returns have become an expectation, and if a brand or retailer doesn’t provide a good returns process, they'll go elsewhere. They also want choices when they shop, leading them to purchase several items or sizes and return what doesn’t work. The new term for this is ‘bracketing’ and it’s one of the leading factors of the returns issue.

What simple, but effective things can you do right now to mitigate returns while keeping your customers happy?

  1. Prevent returns by making your e-commerce sizing foolproof

  2. Create a profitable, sustainable path for moving returned inventory

Here’s how you do it:

One of the most effective methods brands can employ to combat 'bracketing' is integrating a modern sizing solution like WAIR. It's a well-known fact that sizing within apparel eCommerce is wildly inconsistent both between brands and even within a brand's own collections. Because online shoppers lack access to reliable sizing methods (and fitting rooms), they resort to turning their living rooms into the new dressing room—a considerably harmful practice for the environment and your bottom line. WAIR addresses the bracketing issue from the ground up by providing shoppers with personalized and data-backed size recommendations at the point of sale.

The process itself is simple. A shopper lands on your eComm site, opens WAIR's sizing survey and inputs their basic body data. WAIR quickly filters this data through its vast database of 3D body scans to determine the shopper's body shape and then recommends the best-fitting size for that unique shopper.

It's a simple yet dynamic solution WAIR deems "sizeless commerce."

Modern fashion brands like Sozy, Dôen, CUTS and more have realized the power of branded resale by partnering with Treet this year. Once they found success in peer-to-peer resale, many started to use their resale sites to offload returned, sample and off-priced inventory. This is what we call ‘Brand Direct’, – it’s a sustainable way to move excess inventory, while generating incremental revenue from things that otherwise would simply collect dust on warehouse shelves.

When participating brands get returns that they can’t sell full-price, they simply list them on their Treet-powered site individually, or in bulk, like Sozy’s Mystery Bags, state the condition they’re in, and sell them at a slight discount. It doesn’t take long for these items to sell because resale has been booming and people are more open to it than ever. In fact, Sozy sold through 3 years worth of excess inventory in 3 months achieving a 97% sell-through rate!

Getting started with Treet is simple and can be done in under a week. We take on all the setup and the logistics, while making sure your resale experience stays on brand.

If you’re ready to start 2023 off on a strong note without worrying about returns, let’s chat!

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