Bracketing: the problem of fashion’s hidden returns


“Many businesses will send returns to a warehouse because the effort and time spent unpacking, repacking, checking the item, and then returning it to a fulfillment center is an enormous amount of hassle,” says Lone Design Club. Mortar. Each brand the store works with also has different rules regarding receiving returns, which complicates logistics.

For retailers working in e-commerce, the cost of delivery is factored into the price of the item and can be up to 10% of the retail price, according to Stord. However, the cost to process an item’s return, with labor and storage taken into account, is 66% of the original price. “When you start to calculate that, you see why more and more brands are saying ‘Why don’t you keep this item, or destroy it, or show us proof that you have it? given, and we’ll provide you with a credit because actually processing the return is very inefficient,” says Henry.

In the worst case, returned items cannot be resold. “I’ve seen up to 50 or 60% of the goods not resalable. Which personally gives me a heart attack,” says Nikki Baird, vice president of retail management software company Aptos.

“A lot of businesses don’t even bother to restock an item. They will throw it away,” says Morter of the Lone Design Club.

In search of solutions

For Henry, the first solution is to educate customers so that they act with intention and understand what they are doing when they make a purchase.

Retailers are investing in intermediate pre-purchase to discourage bracketing. Truefit works with retailers to integrate with their checkout processes and direct customers to sizes that cross between brands, using specific labels that the consumer already refers to as a point of reference. For multi-brand retailers, Truefit claims to have reduced bracketing returns by 24%, and with single-brand retailers, that reduction can be as high as 50%.

Luxury brands have the ability to go the extra mile, using associates who can build a personal relationship with the customer, providing assurance of the brand’s ability to find the right fit without over-ordering, says Baird. .

Lone Design Club’s solution falls somewhere between Truefit’s point-of-sale intervention and the one-on-one relationships that major brands have fostered with customers. Pop-up messages from the customer service team are used to convey the message that Lone Design Club is concerned about sustainable consumption and environmental impact and would rather place the order correctly than see excessive waste and further damage environmental.


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