Reselling unwanted things instead of returning them to retailers is a growing trend as the days of free returns are drawing to an end. This change is a reaction to retailers tightening their return policies in an effort to reduce the expenses related to processing and handling returns, which were especially high during the pandemic’s spike in online sales.
Popular resale site Poshmark has noted a notable increase in listings with tags still attached, with a 16% increase in the year through November. Moreover, there has been an astounding forty-five percent surge in listings, including the phrase “final sale.” This spike in activity is indicative of a shift in customer behavior.
A noteworthy trend is the growing number of retailers implementing return fees, with approximately 40% of them now charging customers for returning items. Retail giants like Zara, J. Crew, H&M, and Abercrombie & Fitch have recently joined this movement, altering their policies to adapt to the evolving retail environment.
Retailers impose penalties and reduce return windows in an effort to increase customer loyalty and expedite the return process. Even tiers of returns are being introduced by others. These changes force consumers to look for other ways to get reimbursed for impulsive purchases or things they’ve changed their minds about.
Consignment stores are particularly useful for finding a second home for luxury products. Since 2019, The RealReal has seen a significant 35% increase in consigned fashion products that are either brand new with tags or in excellent condition. Consumer behavior is shifting in favor of sustainable and circular fashion approaches, as evidenced by this trend.
Chloe Baffert, Poshmark’s Head of Merchandising and Curation, notes that the stricter return rules lead consumers to “explore new ways to get their money back on purchases they’ve changed their mind about.” This highlights a growing awareness among shoppers to seek alternative solutions, driving the resilience and innovation of the resale market.
In conclusion, as retailers adapt their policies, consumers are embracing resale platforms to minimize their environmental impact and recoup value from items that would otherwise be subject to restrictive return conditions. The fashion resale boom is reshaping the dynamics of post-purchase transactions.