E-commerce: returning packages is not so free

E-commerce: returning packages is not so free


  • 1 The mystery of free return

  • Order an item in duplicate or in triplicate so you can judge the ideal size and color at home: a trivial gesture for many cyber buyers thanks to the free return offered by most online sales sites. With reflection periods between 30 days (Amazon, Spartoo, etc.) to 100 days (Zalando, Sarenza, etc.), the e-shop allows you to test and pay only for what you choose to keep. main asset. How many flats did not turn into real locker rooms during imprisonment? Comfortable, risk-free and free.

    A policy that has benefited the industry greatly. According to a report by the Federation for E-Commerce and Distance Selling (Fevad), which brings together more than 500 companies, 2.1 billion transactions were made in France in 2021 related to the sale of products (excluding services and travel). , an increase of 16% in one year. This represents a turnover of 66.7 billion euros.

  • 2 Expensive for brands

  • In this context, the decision of two fast-speed heavyweights, H&M and Zara, to end free postage on mail orders may come as a surprise. Does this mean that online sales are overwhelmed by the revenue volumes that it has generated?

    The economic argument is undoubtedly significant in the shift of initiated e-commerce clothing. In fact, you would have to be very naive to think that returning shipments, so far free of charge for consumers, is also free for the seller’s site. With rising fuel and board prices, rerouting packages is becoming more expensive. To this are added the cost for the company to renovate items placed back on the market. When their journey doesn’t end at the dump …

  • 3 Ecological nonsense

  • In fact, it is for the planet where the costs are highest. Viewers watching the France 2 Envoyé Spécial’s May 5 report were shocked to find that the package they were considering sending back to the nearest “marketplace” warehouse worked, not a return to the beginning, but an incomprehensible journey of several thousand kilometers. During this investigation, a GPS tracker, hidden in a coat purchased and returned to Zalando.fr, made seven stopovers in the Paris region before reaching Germany and returning to Belgium. With Amazon, the returned package covered 3,000 km so that it could be repackaged cheaper in Slovakia and returned to the circuit … in the United Kingdom!

  • 4 Green image

  • Catastrophic carbon footprint. However, if there are no philanthropists, e-commerce monsters have understood the marketing benefits of “green laundry” (“green laundry”, in French). Of course, every society – all the more so because it pollutes – is interested in restoring its image, buying environmentally responsible behavior and making it clear. The stakes, both commercial and environmental, are high: the return on textile products alone is estimated at almost 30%, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance. According to a consumer study by the Dutch company Sendcloud, which does not realize the “bottom of all parcel traffic”, 77% of French e-shoppers say they return orders regularly. The observation, which led Rob Van van Heuvel, the European leader of the European leader in all-in-one transport solutions, to call for a reduction in backflows associated with “freight, albeit symbolic, to the detriment of consumers for the return of packages” in April.

  • 5 Ridiculous participation

  • Symbolic, it is an attribute that fits the 95 cents set by H&M and 1.95 euros deducted from the amount of goods reimbursed by Zara after returning by mail (return at the store remains free). According to Sendcloud, they are far from the estimated shipping costs of 7.60 – 12.50 euros for a returned and refurbished product. Proof that we are just at the beginning of the journey and that “the van is the tendon of a trade war that is taking place online,” says Rob van den Heuvel.

  • 6 Good intentions to realize

  • However: after the first 14 signatories last year, the Charter of Commitments to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Online Trading, 18 new companies joined the government’s dynamics in mid-March. It is up to them to inform consumers about the least polluting delivery methods, to promote the right ordering gestures in order to reduce returns, reduce packaging and develop low-carbon delivery methods. The first monitoring committee will take place in July and a progress report will be published each year.





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