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Should You Be Offering FREE Returns Globally?

November 12, 2015

Free returns are now an everyday expectation of shoppers in the UK as we see more and more retailers offering this incentive to drive sales. Studies have shown that 73% of shoppers will take their shopping elsewhere if the retailer fails to adhere to this desire but is this a reflection of consumers being fickle, or is it a fair presumption?

Free Return

The idea of offering free returns worldwide however is a whole different kettle of fish and retailers will often focus on offering free delivery to their overseas customers instead. But offering low-cost or free returns can make a huge difference to checkout conversion - Two retail giants reported a whopping 357% sales increase when they began offering free returns.

Yet we're a long way off from seeing free returns globally. Research conducted by ReBOUND discovered that only 3 of the top 132 UK fashion brands offered free returns worldwide (a mere 2%). These leading brands with such a generous global return offering are Net a Porter, Mr Porter and Joseph, so does a free return policy only make sense for higher value goods like these luxury brands?

18% of the retailers we studied did offer a small selection of international customers free returns in a handful of international markets. Taking a closer look into this, it appears that there is a trend for fashion brands upping the ante on their returns policy for the USA market in particular by offering them free returns with 8% of brands offering this incentive and we expect these figures to rise in the next returns benchmark we set in the New Year.