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Online Returns Shouldn’t Cost the Earth; New Report Indicates

With incredible increases in e-commerce generated by the worldwide pandemic and imposed in-person shopping restrictions, what happens when what you ordered just isn’t right?

It’s happened to the best of us. When ordering online, there are obvious limitations to selecting the right product, namely the ability to test and try on the product, which can lead to receiving a product that falls short of expectations for various reasons.

One of the great things about e-commerce is that nothing is set in stone, and naturally, the rise in online sales has cultivated an equally-high amount of product returns.

Yet underlying the popularity of online shopping, and indeed preceding the effects of the pandemic, is the pursuing agenda around sustainable fashion, which provided the centre point of new research published by the payment and retailer agnostic app Slip.

Its research has analysed the UK’s growing interest in conscious shopping in its new Returns in the UK report, and how this fits with the necessity for sustainable fashion.

The report found that 62 per cent of Brits have considered purchasing second-hand clothing to reduce their carbon footprint, while almost seven in 10 actively consider the environmental impact of making online returns.

While there appears to be a solid general consensus around the importance of sustainability at every level of the e-commerce process, the report indicates how 82 per cent of shoppers continue to underestimate the true cost of returning unwanted items to retailers.

In regards to this process, two-thirds cited having to travel to a location such as a Post Office to drop off an item as their least favourite thing about making retail returns. Furthermore, the same number of respondents wouldn’t buy an item online if they had to pay for the return.

According to the data, 64 per cent of British shoppers return products every few months with sizing issues being the most common reason for returns; cited by 51 per cent of respondents.

In view of the report, although its initiative is to promote eco-friendly e-commerce, it might have been more effective to underline the fact that achieving sustainable fashion starts with a re-evaluation of consumption; as opposed to resorting to second-hand purchases.

Most quality garments support a shelf life of around five to seven years, however, social pressures and pressure from the fashion industry itself have programmed shoppers to consume beyond what they actually need.

Fashion changes, but being eco-friendly never goes out of style.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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