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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Down to business: ‘Tis the season for returns, to the tune of $100B annually – The Daily Gazette

I went to the mall retailer early one weekday, hoping to slip in quickly to exchange Christmas sweaters.

It was December 2nd, and sweaters were from Christmas 2020 – the same COVID holiday spent opening gifts with family via online conferencing.

The sweater was a lovely shade of mint, but just didn’t fit well, so I set it aside to return. I’m embarrassed to say that it spent most of 2021 on a corner of a dresser and at the bottom of my to-do list, as COVID grew and ebed, grew and ebed, and other things crowded for attention .

But as the purchase date on the gift receipt approached, I was determined to exchange the sweater for store credit. And to my surprise, the process was painless.

For non-procrastinators, the prime holiday retreat season is here, which spans roughly from late December to early February. This could mean long lines and frayed nerves for both shoppers and retailers, along with additional diversions for the aftermath of the hit to the bottom line.

According to the National Retail Federation, in 2020, about $100 billion of merchandise — about 13 percent of all US holiday sales — went back to retailers. The group has yet to release data on 2021 returns, but sales for the recently completed season were expected to be significantly higher than in 2020, meaning returns also increased.

Optoro, a reverse logistics provider, collaborated with national commercial real estate broker CBRE to assess the potential for returns in 2021, predicting that two out of three consumers will return at least one Christmas gift, given the supply Some will bring back $120 billion worth of goods. Chain. (That’s where the phrase “reverse logistics” comes from. And just as distribution centers play a role in getting products to stores, returns also need commercial space.)

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The companies report estimated the cost for return to retailers at two-thirds of the product’s price, incurred in processing, transportation and discounting/liquidation. So, for an average $50 item, the return cost is $33; For high-value electronics, this is several times higher.

Despite the cost and headache, however, the National Retail Federation advises businesses that “the return is good.”

“Your best buyers earn the most returns,” the group says. “Returns are an opportunity to increase interaction with that consumer, provide them with a great experience and increase their loyalty for future shopping trips.”

It looked like I had the spirit of returning to my national series at the end of 2020, and I became a teaching moment to boot.

The store associate initially indicated that they no longer took the sweater I wanted to return, but figured out a comparable product to calculate my store credit while what he was doing with a new employee , was talking about this.

Ten minutes later, I was on my way.

Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. The views expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. reach it [email protected]

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Categories: Business

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