- Feb 22, 2011
What happens to the stuff you order online after you send it back?
This explosive growth in online sales has also magnified one of e-commerce’s biggest problems: returns. When people can’t touch things before buying them—and when they don’t have to stand in front of another human and insist that a pair of high heels they clearly wore actually never left their living room—they send a lot of stuff back. The average brick-and-mortar store has a return rate in the single digits, but online, the average rate is somewhere between 15 and 30 percent. For clothing, it can be even higher, thanks in part to bracketing—the common practice of ordering a size up and a size down from the size you think you need. Some retailers actively encourage the practice in order to help customers feel confident in their purchases. At the very least, many retailers now offer free shipping, free returns, and frequent discount codes, all of which promote more buying—and more returns. Last year, U.S. retailers took back more than $100 billion in merchandise sold online.
So what do online retailers like Amazon do? They palletize the returns and sell the pallets of randomized returns. No restocking, just put them on a pallet and sell it.
Have any of you bought one of those return pallets?