Wanted: e-commerce fashion return manager

How can you reduce the return flow of your webstore? Do you really need to? And perhaps the most interesting: how can you tackle cross-border returns? This year the Cross-Border (E-) commerce expert group of research platform ShoppingTomorrow has focused on the issue of returns.

Rack of clothes

Is there really a problem?

Online sales are hot, especially in fashion. Both at a national and an international level. The associated online growth is huge. That offers opportunities, but does create some threats too. One of those threats is the high return rate in fashion (20%-40% in the UK). Processing those returns costs money. According to a study by Shopify, the return costs in America alone will increase to 550 billion USD in 2020. Other research shows that reducing the return rate by even 1% has a huge positive impact on profitability.

To simplify the return process, e-tailers offer numerous solutions. But what works? Is there a difference between e-tailers and market places, for example? And besides: is it that easy to say that the return issue is nothing more than a problem? In the investigation into the return issue, three pillars can be distinguished: the prevention, reduction and marketing of return shipments.


The three pillars in the return flow – "prevent", "reduce" and "market" – offer online sellers a handful of tools to better control the cross-border return flow. Which pillar works best for an e-tailer requires research. You can take a few steps for this:

Step 1: Map your returns.

Step 2: Focus your efforts. View in which pillar the most (or easiest) profit can be achieved.

Step 3: Get to work on tackling the return issue.


Too frequently, the return manager, who is able to work on the three steps of the return issue, is absent from an online cross-border (fashion) organization. As a result, too frequently, the return process itself remains a problem rather than an opportunity. This expert group was made possible by Salesupply and DHL. Have you posted a vacancy to take those international steps forward? Want to know more about the recommendations of the expert group? 


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