A New Challenge in Retail: Ever-Increasing Product Returns

Social Media Pressure: Shoppers Buy Clothes for Posts and Return Them After

The increasing impact of social media means that we’re sharing more of our everyday life and posting a lot of pictures online. And many that post online consciously strive to never repeat an outfit on two photos.

To the dismay of retailers, this means that more and more shoppers are buying clothes just for social media and will return the items to the store once they’ve taken and posted a photo of the outfit.

The fact that many stores only charge the customer once they’ve had a chance to try the clothes on at home further magnifies the situation. In fact, most items are returned before they’ve even been paid for.

When credit card company Barclaycard surveyed British shoppers last year, 9% of the respondents claimed that they only ordered clothes for social media photos. And once they’ve taken the photo, they return the items to the store, Quartzy elaborated. Barclaycard surveyed 2,002 adult shoppers and the survey revealed that shoppers in the 35–44 age group are most likely to only use clothes for social media photos. In fact, men are more likely to do so than women!

How Can Your Business Survive?

The question is, can retail businesses win when the piles of tried and returned clothes keep growing? Erply can assure you, the situation isn’t as bleak as it may seem.  

Erply’s customers already know that you can easily avoid any confusion and stress caused by returns – our POS software keeps meticulous track of all transactions. Erply lets you manage returns from the checkout based on sales invoices or in your inventory based on invoice-delivery notes.

Handling returns at the checkout is super simple – the on-screen shortcuts include a “Returns” button that gives you clear instructions on what to do. If the customer is returning an item they haven’t paid for yet, you can use Erply’s inventory management to compile a credit invoice; a credit invoice can also be compiled based on an invoice-delivery note.

You can set up a “reason for return” parameter in Erply’s checkout, but it hasn’t been set up by default.

Our customers already know that Erply’s software keeps track of layaway, returns and settlements. It supports various payment types (invoices, advance payments, outstanding invoices, service fees, interest calculations, etc.) and accruals are easy to manage, as the program notifies you of outstanding invoices and makes sure that payments and accruals match.

How to Benefit from Returns?

Erply’s customer management module is a powerful tool for monitoring purchase history and planning marketing activities. Your checkout stores all customer data, which means that you can act the moment you notice unusual trends or anomalies.

If the customer analysis reveals a pattern and a certain customer is, in fact, returning a lot of items, you can delve into the causes of the behavior and see if you can benefit from it. For example, if you’re dealing with a social media influencer, offer them a collaboration deal!

Clever retailers have already come up with creative solutions. Some brands specifically cater to Instagram shoppers – they’ve created an Instagram environment for their brand that customers can use to post photos of themselves, thus advertising the products; the brand merely adds links and prices. See the great examples set by Fashion Nova, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThings and Showpo.  

Another creative solution is letting customers rent the products – for example, Rent the Runway lets customers rent designer clothes for free.  

Retail is seeing great and exciting changes – you just need to be flexible. It is possible to make returns work to your benefit!

Just one more recommendation – Erply’s POS software means that you never have to worry about managing your store. Our POS and inventory management software guarantees you with a sense of security, no matter the current fashion trends.

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