In the latest round of online fashion retailers combating return fraud (last year it was Amazon), Asos has announced a new returns policy aimed directly at stemming the practice of wardrobing—buying several articles of clothing with the intention of returning them. The new return policy is customer friendly with a socially responsible message, aimed most likely at Generation Z, the fastest growing demographic for buying online fashion (read more on marketing to Gen Z and sustainable fashion).

Asos’ New Return Policy

Asos’ New Return Policy

Asos’ new policy provides the same, current return policy for the first 28 days. If a customer waits longer than 28 days, then they have up to 45 days to claim an e-gift card. The new policy goes on to state that if unusual return patterns appear, such as frequently buying and returning clothing, then the company might investigate. Further clarification is found in the Asos terms and conditions, which states, “If we notice an unusual pattern of returns activity that doesn’t sit right: e.g., we suspect someone is actually wearing their purchases and then returning them or ordering and returning loads – way, waaay more than even the most loyal ASOS customer would order – then we might have to deactivate the account and any associated accounts.”

The High Cost of Returns

The cost of online returns—including shipping, processing, warehousing, cleaning, repackaging, and redistributing—is only going to further increase. In addition to expensive warehouse space hitting capacity, the shipping industry currently faces a shortage in drivers, forcing wages and costs further up. What’s more, changes in border policies and cross-border sales only further complicates matters (read more on 2019 Supply Chain Challenges).

Increase Recovery Rates from Returned Inventory

E-commerce fashion retailers require a recovery solution to both manage and liquidate returned inventory. A successful solution allows the secondary market supply chain to remain fluid, ensuring warehouses do not hit capacity, and provides robust strategies to offset the costs associated with returns and overstock inventory. B-Stock operates the world’s largest liquidation platform; allowing major fashion retailers to liquidate large quantities of returned and excess inventory.

Sustainability programs, shipping, warehousing, processing and labor all increase costs, but are vital to attract and keep customers. To reduce these costs and to increase recovery rates on returned items, retailers can open their own private marketplace on B-Stock to auction off excess inventory to a buyer network of resellers with their own clearance and liquidation stores. What’s more, B-Stock will work with you on any de-labeling and brand protection concerns (read more on how top retailers leverage brand equity on the secondary market).

We invite you to review our case studies and our suite of private marketplaces that we operate for the top UK retailers, among 100s more.