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Zara and Uniqlo limit return options due to pandemic shipping costs.
H&M has become the latest fast-fashion brand to limit free returns for online purchases in the UK in response to escalating shipping costs amid COVID-19. The company now requires customers to pay £1.99 for both returns via post and in-store return options, although clients registered on its customer platform and supply chain were sidestepped. H&M CEO Helena Helmersson flagged last autumn that the company was considering introducing return fees in a bid to lower costs. Zara and Uniqlo limit return options due to pandemic shipping costs.
The problem is that online fashion purchases are returned at a rate of 20 to 30%, double that of in-store transactions, which has made reverse logistics far more difficult to manage. To force positive change, H&M, along with other retailers, could enter into partnerships with return aggregation providers such as Happy Returns and Narvar, lift their free shipping threshold to discourage impulse purchases, or develop fit technology to ensure more accurate online sizing. However, the introduction of return fees has emerged as one of the most direct and effective solutions to manage the massive return volumes.