Returning clothes. It’s something that’s a part of the shopping process. Maybe the item doesn’t fit right, comes with a stain, or simply doesn’t live up to how you imagined it in your head. Regardless of the reason, as consumers you have expectations around return policies: that it will be fast, and simple and the money will be in your bank within the shortest amount of time possible. And if this doesn’t happen, it’s been found that the business is far less likely to get return custom!

Increasingly Important Across Numerous Industries

Why? Because the longer a company keeps your money, the less likely you are to buy from them again. Hours on the phone trying to get a return, endless emails with customer service – these are the things that ruin a satisfying customer experience. And of course, this doesn’t just apply to clothing stores, but to any kind of business which you are expecting money back from. The general rule of thumb is, the quicker the money reaches the consumer the better. Hence, the growing market for ‘fast payout’, as seen in brands like Klarna’s instant bank transfer, Monzo’s same day loans, or in fast withdrawal casinos in UK and elsewhere, such as Casino Lab or Race Casino, which make sure that you get hold of your winnings as soon as possible and make this a key features alongside other areas such as a large range of slots and generous welcome bonuses. Whatever the sphere, much like waiting for a refund, there are few things more annoying than waiting for money to be deposited into your account.

When it comes to shopping in particular, it’s especially important to have a quick transfer of money policy, as findings show that over 90% of customers make repeat purchases based on return policy alone. Hence, why many successful brands market themselves on easy returns because they know it’s likely to increase their overall profit.

Of course, it’s more difficult for small businesses to have such easy return policies because the immediate loss in cash will affect them more directly. However, even the smaller men’s fashion retailers know the importance of easy returns, particularly if their products are more expensive than fast fashion stores, making them investment pieces for the buyer. In these cases it’s especially important to have a high quality of customer service. Take for example a company like Everlane which sells low-end luxury clothing (a tee clocking in at about £50 but a jumper just under £200), but that has a generous return policy of 30 days, refunded either in cash or store credit.

So, what does this mean for the future of fashion and shopping? Well, as the world of online shopping grows, we can expect more and more shops to elongate their return policies, alongside making them more accessible, especially with the lack of changing rooms meaning that you have to buy to try. Already we’re seeing the trend of returns being made easy through the introduction of drop-off locations, a system used by major retailers like ASOS and Boohoo. And likely, we will see the rest of the online world follow, and with that the industry as a whole.