Spooky Reality of Returns
A happy customer will become a loyal customer- that is one of the oldest retail truths and is a fundamental goal retailers strive to achieve. Building a positive shopping experience both in store and online is where it begins but, having return policies more lenient than ever before is unfortunately what it has become. The true reality of returns is….the environment is taking a major hit.
Reality #1: The Consumers
Your returns often don’t end up where you think they will. The rapid increase of online shopping has resulted in more returns than retailers can handle. When you return an item it rarely goes back on the shelf for someone else to buy, especially in the baby gear space. The cost incurred to inspect, repackage, and put it back on the shelf is higher in most cases than the cost of the item itself. So what ends up happening when you send back a return? The majority often end up being damaged & destroyed (aka. put in landfills). Annually, 5 billion pounds of returned goods end up in landfills, causing effects consumers may not consider including carbon emissions, plastic and packaging waste.
Reality #2: The Retailers
Striving to make the customer experience seamless and positive has pushed many retailers to feel there is no choice but to ensure returns are as easy as possible despite knowing it is what’s hurting our mama Earth. Retailers are stuck between wanting to make the brand experience frictionless for customers (to build loyalty and prevent nasty reviews) while, also trying to educate them on where their returns really end up. No retailer wants to be the first to make returns more challenging and risk brand tarnishment or a dip in sales so instead they continue to accept and in many cases damage out what you bring back.
A Possible Solution?
A fully transparent system with clear education on item lifecycles. As consumers become more concerned about the environment so must their interest about the effects of their returns. In a study by Kearney in April 2020, 78% of consumers said companies could be doing more to help improve environment outcomes. Would retailers changing return policies to be less lenient be a way of improving environmental outcomes?
As a marketplace platform not a retailer, Rebelstork works to extend the life of returns, helping save them from landfill. Being open to purchase Overstock & Open Box items you are working with us to make a dent in the major return problems that exist in the baby gear retail space.