Why Retailers Are Letting Customers Keep Their Returns

By: Anneken Tappe · December 01, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Just Keep It

Returning an unwanted item is often a pretty straightforward process for consumers, the arguably most annoying part of which is sending the item back. But change is in the air…

An increasing number of retailers are now allowing customers to keep items they wish to return, while still receiving a full refund.

Since shipping costs often exceed the original value of a purchased product, many retailers are adopting this “just keep it” policy.

Cutting Their Losses

More than half of retailers (59%) are now offering “keep it” returns when the cost to return an item would exceed what it was originally worth, according to data from returns services firm goTRG. That’s up from just about a quarter of companies a year ago.

The change in policy is all about protecting profits. On average, a single return costs a retailer about $30. This figure includes sorting time, losses, and discounts offered for the resale of used or damaged items. In response to high return costs and loss of income, nearly all retailers adjusted their policies in some way this year, including offering store credit, charging a fee for returns, or requiring returns to be brought to a physical store.

Keep it on the Down-Low

Retailers don’t commonly advertise their returns policies out of worry that consumers could take advantage of them. After all, U.S. consumers are predicted to return $173 billion in goods following Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping this year, a steep 28% increase from last year.

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Check it out

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