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47 per cent of fashion items ordered online get returned

25 June 2018 - 17:13 by David Aiken

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Figures published by Barclaycard this week show that each year consumers in the UK return the equivalent of £7 billion worth of products purchased via safe shopping online to the retailers that sold them, according to the Daily Mail.

The most commonly returned items are those in the clothing and footwear categories, with almost half of all items sent back as a result of the sizing being wrong for the customer in question.

40 per cent of online outlets that offer fashion products have experienced an increase in returns over the past two years, which is hitting them hard in terms of profitability.

In spite of this trend which suggests that shoppers are becoming more selective, experts warn that in reality, it could be the fault of the retailers themselves.

Blame is being placed on sizing schemes used by shops, which are not only inconsistent between different fashion sites, but even differ within ranges themselves.

This means that when a consumer buys clothing or shoes via safe shopping online, they have no way of guaranteeing that the items they order will fit, even if they are listed as being of the same size.

On the high street, the opportunity to try on clothes before committing to a purchase means that this issue can be pre-empted. With the web there is no such service available, so shoppers end up ordering multiple items of the same type in order to be certain of finding an example that suits their size.

Some e-commerce retailers have been attempting to address this through the development of virtual fitting room services, although these are still fairly primitive and not widely available. For the time being, it seems as though the volumes of returns will continue to grow.