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January 21, 2024

Online returns ticked up in 2023

When you dive into National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail’s 2023 returns report, first you’re greeted by some welcomed data – returns dropped significantly from $816B (16.5% of sales) in 2022 to $743B (14.5% of sales) in 2023. That’s $73 capital B, BILLION, lower than 2022 and even $18B lower than 2021. At that point, I’m sure many readers kicked their feet up and said job well done.

However, there’s more to the store for online retailers. In 2023, enterprise brands, including Macy’s, Abercrombie, J.Crew, and H&M, introduced returns or restocking fees. We’ve seen the same trend at Swap, where 90 percent of our brands now charge a fee for returns. The results from NRF prove that this has not changed behavior. Online returns increased by $35 billion in 2023, even amidst the broader retailer decrease in returns. 

Online retailers are back to the drawing board to figure out how to curb returns online in 2024. Well, you’ve come to the right place, as we have a couple of tricks up our sleeve: 

Track return reasons - through Swap, we give live detailed insights into return reasons, easily breaking them down by product. You can take these insights back to production to address the return reasons, which brings us to the #1 return reason: sizing. 

Detailed product descriptions - showing modeled products doesn’t give customers an accurate depiction of the fit. Adding descriptors such as “boxy-fit” or “runs small” is critical for people to get a better feel online. 

Sizing tool software - our partners at measmerize work with brands like Moncler and Stone Island to tailor product sizing recommendations through machine learning. Through using this tool, return rates drop 40 percent on average. 

To shape up your returns strategy, talk to your account manager or book a demo today. 

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