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Being charged for shipping and returns biggest turn off to buying clothes online, say European shoppers

A poll by logistics company Dematic has found that while shopping on the net is becoming far more popular, almost three out of five shoppers (58%) are put off buying clothes online if asked to cover the shipping costs for a delivery or return.

As many people make multiple purchases with a view to returning items that don’t fit, costs can soon mount up, undermining the apparent convenience and cost efficiency of virtual vs high street shopping. 

Another key concern, the survey revealed, was that some retailers have made the returns process unnecessarily difficult to navigate. Almost a quarter of customers (23%) are dissuaded from making a purchase, fearing the challenges of logging a return online, packaging and posting it back to the retailer. 

Interestingly, many people actually prefer buying a new outfit from a clothes shop as they can not only try a garment on but take it home straight away without having to wait for a delivery. In fact, 13% of respondents in the poll said they want their goods immediately and the long wait for a delivery is another reason preventing them from completing a purchase online.

Other leading concerns raised by shoppers include trying to navigate different clothing brand size variations, not knowing if an item would fit properly, and not being able to establish the authenticity of a vendor.

Although shoppers enjoy the value for money and wider choice offered by online shopping, the survey revealed that a positive customer experience remains key to securing an Internet purchase.  

Steffen Thierfelder, Managing Director of Northern Europe, Dematic, explains: “As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, it is clear from our survey results that shoppers still expect high levels of customer service and simple, yet cost-effective, deliveries and returns processes.  Previously, ordering online was just about fulfilment but now it’s an integral part of the customer journey. Fashion retailers must take advantage of available logistics and automation solutions to improve costs and efficiencies to ensure their goods get to where they are needed as fast as possible, whether that be to a customer or returned to the warehouse.”

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