The menace of ‘Free Returns’ in Fashion


When we hear ‘Fracking’, we immediately think of environmental impact. Same is the case with coal usage or deforestation. It is true as well. Does returning clothes bought online come to mind though? Do we assume that the clothes we return will retrace its logistical journey and go back to the shelf of the E-Commerce company and be bought again by someone else?

In an ideal world, that would be the case. 

In the real world, a large percentage of the returned clothes end up in landfills. The overhead that free returns place on E-Commerce companies is simply too high. In case of fast fashion, it is more economical for the companies to simply leave the products, that you wish to return, with you and reimburse your money. Reverse logistics is a very expensive proposition. 

Image by Nathan Copley from Pixabay

The next logical solution for E-Commerce companies would be recycling but only 12% of the materials from clothing get recycled from around the world every year.  

Only 12% clothes get recycled every year

The problem of returns in exasperated by irresponsible customer behavior stemming from free returns like, Bracketing. It is practice where customers deliberately buy items with the intention of returning them. Often different sizes of the same item are bought so that they may try-on each size and pick the right one, at home, and return the ones that do not fit. A survey in 2019 indicated that more than half of the buyers bought clothes with the intention of returning them

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

More than 50% shoppers buy clothes with the intention of returning it

There are plenty of ways to avoid returns as a shopper and as a seller. Using the fitting rooms in the stores helps choose the items that suit. This is time tested and works best. Online shoppers may use the size charts or innovative technologies like ViuBox, which helps customers virtually try the fitting before buying. 

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you do end up with clothes that you do not want, an ideal solution would be to find someone else who would like it through platforms like You can also find items that you fancy there, from others like you. You can be responsible, stylish and save money, in addition to saving the planet. Pre-loved Fashion is Ethical Fashion.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *