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‘Nation of returners’ will only buy online if can send back for free: study

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The UK is a nation of returners, according to new research.

The study from virtual fitting room company found that 60% of consumers will not consider buying online unless returns are free, while two in five (41%) buy several sizes of the same piece of clothing online to check the fit, and then send the others back.

The research was carried out by Redshift Research, and 1,000 UK consumers took part.

Other reasons for returning included size not fitting (43%), feel of the fabric (25%) and style (15%).

Some 12% of consumers say they never buy online ‘because of sizing concerns’, while 61% hesitate to buy for that reason. And 12% also say they have ordered several sizes online to check the fit and then forgotten to return those they didn’t want.

Conversely, 60% say they won’t consider buying online unless returns are free, and 11% have returned online items they have worn.

“Consumers don’t trust the sizing information they see online,” said founder and chief executive Heikki Haldre, “and with good reason: there are no universal sizing standards, and sizing may vary considerably even within a single retailer.

He warns that returns come at a cost to retailers. “[Consumers] are learning that the ‘free returns’ offered by retailers works to their advantage,” he said. “It means they can order multiple sizes but return the one or more that they don’t want. However returns cost retailers enormous sums of money; not just the transportation of it, but the re-warehousing of the garment and, often, its subsequent discounting for resale.” technology is used by shirtmaker Hawes and Curtis where a recent study showed its virtual fitting room was responsible for a 57% improvement in conversion rates for first-time customers and a 35% fall in its overall garment return rates.

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