Posts tagged with "Retailers"

The great giveback: Retailers team up with FedEx, UPS, Whole Foods to make returns easier

December 29, 2020

Retailers and logistics companies have struggled to get shoppers’ holiday gifts delivered on time. Now, they’re gearing up for what’s expected to be a brutal season for unwanted, returnable goods headed back in their direction, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Following a coronavirus pandemic-fueled surge in online sales, up to $70.5 billion worth of online holiday purchases are expected to be returned—up from $42 billion last year—according to a forecast from commercial real estate brokerage CBRE.

Many retailers that encouraged people to start their holiday shopping early also have extended their return deadlines this holiday season—and have tried to make it easier, once you get in the vicinity of the store, to get your money back. Still, the Tribune reports, returns aren’t as seamless as clicking “buy” online—and most merchants don’t offer contact-free options that enable consumers to stay in the car during the return transaction.

It’s not just because people are buying more gifts online. It’s because there are more people shopping online, including some who typically prefer to shop in person and aren’t accustomed to buying online,  Steve Osburn, managing director of Retail Strategy at Accenture, told the Chicago-based news outlet.

.Shoppers also admit that they’re now more likely to buy the same item in multiple sizes; then, keep the one that fits. About 62% of U.S. shoppers said they “bracketed” purchases, up from 48% last year, often because they gained or lost weight or were shopping at a new store and weren’t sure what size to pick, according to a September survey by Narvar, a company that helps retailers manage returns.

Retailers prefer shoppers return items in stores rather than ship them back because they can get items back on shelves more quickly, Osburn said.

But this year, the desire to avoid unnecessary trips to stores could push more people to seek mail-in options. About 30% of consumers surveyed by Narvar said it was easier to ship items back, up from 25% last year.

Walmart this week announced that FedEx will pick up returns at customers’ homes. Customers still need to pack items for shipment, which can be tougher when people are working from home without access to a printer to print the shipping label, but the service is free for items shipped and sold by Walmart.

Earlier this month, Amazon announced customers can return items at 500 Whole Foods Market stores without a box or shipping label. Amazon already had a returns partnership with Kohl’s. Amazon shoppers also can return items at UPS locations, in some cases without packing them up.

Returns service Happy Returns partnered with FedEx this fall to let shoppers return items from brands like Everlane, Rothy’s and Steve Madden at 2,000 FedEx locations with no box or shipping label.

Happy Returns previously had about 600 locations, which were mostly at malls and retailers like Paper Source and CostPlus World Market. The new FedEx locations adds convenience while making the service “COVID-proof” since FedEx is an essential business that will stay open, CEO David Sobie told the Tribune.

And, as return drop-off options have expanded, use has grown. Nearly 30% of shoppers surveyed by Narvar in September said they had taken their most recent return to a designated drop-off location like a pharmacy or another retailer’s store, up from 16% last year. About 35% of shoppers took their return to a carrier to mail back and 12% returned their item to the retailer’s store.

Some retailers are also trying to streamline traditional store returns.

Dick’s Sporting Goods will let customers return items through curbside pickup, as long as the purchase was made with a credit or debit card. Others say shoppers must come inside to make a return, though Narvar CEO Amit Sharma said he expects more retailers to announce curbside returns in January.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Dia serves the 70% of U.S. women whom the fashion industry ignores

November 21, 2018

Nearly 70% of American women—about 100 million coast-to-coast—wear a size 14 or larger, according to market research firm Houston-based Plunkett Research. But what are they wearing? Only 18% of the clothing sold in 2016 was considered plus-size, Port Washington, New York, market research firm NPD found in a recent study covered by the cable network CNBC.

On a personal level, that’s something that Nadia Boujarwah, CEO and co-founder of New York City-based Dia&Co, has realized for a long time. The former Wall Street executive says on her company’s website, “I’ve always loved fashion, but struggled to find clothes that fit my body and worked with my personal style. I’ve been everything from a size 12 to a size 22 and I couldn’t help but notice, no matter my size, that there was nothing for me.”

Indeed, she told CNBC in a recent interview, since the retail industry isn’t catering to this majority, “the average plus-sized woman is only spending 20 cents on the dollar that women in smaller sizes are spending on apparel.”

“So instead,” Boujarwah says, “I co-founded Dia&Co in 2014 [along with Lydia Gilbert], as a way for women just like me to embrace their individuality. It grew out of a personal need and now, Dia&Co is a place where everyone can explore all the incredible things that style can really do.”

The company offers clients personal styling exclusively in sizes 14 and up, as well as monthly boxes of curated plus-size clothing. A spokesperson for the company said the styling service has had more than 1 million users and ships to all 50 U.S. states.

Like the popular online retailers, Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, Dia&Co asks prospective customers to complete a profile, and then a stylist curates the items that are shipped to her. Dia charges a $20 styling fee, and the customer pays for the clothes she wants to keep.

Boujarwah told CNBC that her company is not only helping the customer find clothes, but it’s helping create clothes as well. “We do everything from work with brands to enter plus for the first time,” she said. “We build our own brands, all the way down through really creating the content and the community, to inspire her to participate.”

She added: “If you think about how many problems that are inherent” among plus-sized women, Boujarwah explained, Dia has taken “a very comprehensive view, and we’ve really said every part of this challenge for her is our job.”

Research contact: @erincstefanski