Excessive retail returns could soon cost you

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by Jesse Jones / KING 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 12:26 AM

For Magda Walczak, online shopping is all about ease – buy what you want and send it back if it doesn’t work.

"I would say that about half the things that I actually buy I end up returning,” said Walczak.

This habit has earned Magda a new title.  She’s what retailers call a return-a-holic.  Experts claim these shoppers cost businesses $375 billion dollars each year.

“For retailers, returns are an absolute nightmare.  The days of using your living room as a fitting room are yes, going to be coming to a close,” explained retail expert, Carol Spieckerman.

Retailers are starting to track customers using companies like AgilOne.  It’s an online marketing group that monitors millions of consumers shopping habits.

“We look at returns in relation to the profitability of a customer, so for example if you return 50 items that can be really terrible if you only keep one,” said Dominique Levin with AgilOne.  “But of course if you return 50 items and end up buying 200 that's fantastic.”

Levin said companies may stop sending coupons and promotions to customers who make too many returns.  Some may even go so far as to revoke free shipping or charge restocking fees.

“Most stores really would rather have you continue to do business with them rather than their competitors. However, what we do see is stores starting to find ways to perhaps spend less money on you or find ways to have you return less,” explained Levin.

It’s easy to reverse this issue.  Just change your habits and the retailers will be quick to forgive.

“Most of the customer profiles that retailers are collecting on all of us get refreshed every single day, so every day is a new day when it comes to return profiles,” said Levin.

Companies will also reward good behavior, sending coupons and special sales to shoppers with few returns.  Bottom line – only order items you know you’ll keep.  It will save you money now and down the road.

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