Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the impacts on the logistics of returns in the fashion and clothing sector?
In France, online fashion accounts for 14% of the total online sales. This number even rose to 58% of purchases in the first quarter of 2019 (source: Mollie). This flourishing sector is nevertheless a source of many returns. And if the latter were once suffered, today, with the advent of simplified return policies, buyers’ behaviours are changing.
According to researches by the British company Barclaycard, in the UK, some clients sometimes deliberately order too many items in order to be able to make a final decision at home and return the unwanted ones. It is estimated that nearly 30% do so. Even more, “19% admitted ordering several versions of the same item so that they can make up their mind when they receive it”.
Returns, a crucial element of customer loyalty and commitment
In just a few years, e-merchants and other retailers have therefore changed their returns policy to make it a criteria of choice and differentiation for online consumers. The return policy has become a key element in customer engagement and loyalty. It must, therefore, be experienced by the consumer in the same way as the initial act of purchase: in a simple and seamless way.
This is where reverse logistics comes into its own. What is its role? To improve the post-purchase experience, reassure the customer about his decision-making and build customer loyalty.
Reassure consumers by adapting their return policy.
However, for the past few months, the world has been facing COVID-19 and a major health crisis. How, in this complex and uncertain context, are fashion and clothing specialists trying to reassure their customers? Among their strategies is a customer focus reverse logistics process.
Thus, many e-merchants and retailers in the fashion and textile sector have chosen to adapt their policies to continue serving the consumer in the most efficient way possible.
Efficient logistics services despite the COVID-19 pandemic
While services in this area have multiplied and become more democratic – free of charge, choice diversity for returning, “customer friendly” policies, etc. – the players in the sector have fully received the message from their customers in this period of crisis and are going further. They are now showing understanding and are extending return times. La Redoute, Zalando, Adidas and H&M are now offering a 100-day return period. Asos is extending returns up to 90 days, while Shein is positioning itself on 75 days and Kiabi on 60 days.
Congratulations to our partners Etam (60 days), Undiz (90 days) and Maison 1 2 3 (90 days) as well as Mango (60 days) or Le Slip Français (30 days after lockdown).
In these difficult times, this element of reinsurance will undoubtedly result in improved customer satisfaction. Thus, faced with the plethoric offer in the sector, reverse logistics is once again a major differentiating criteria for online fashion retailers.
*Study based on the TOP 100 E-merchants in France – 2020