In the weeks before Christmas, fashion retailers were busy making sure online orders arrived in time for the big day.
Now a high percentage of what they sent out is arriving back. More and more of their time is swallowed up processing returns.
“Unfortunately, returns are part of the beast,” said Jonathan McCann, who runs Jonzara in Lisburn and Newtownards with his sister Sarah, one of many developing new ways of making sure the customer gets what fits. Online shopping is never an exact science.
Return rates in local stores are estimated at around 25%.
For the online giants it can be as much as 50%, with a growing trend for customers to order the same outfit in multiple sizes, then only keeping the one that fits.
But try as retailers might, with new innovations to help customers get the size they need, there’s nothing yet to beat browsing in a high street store and popping into the changing room to see for yourself what the finished article looks like.