There's a lot of talk about returns, and rightly so. They eat up time and money and, above all, they are a burden on the environment. We decided to dig into data from over 10,000 online store returns to get a clearer picture on the subject.
The figures shown in the chart represent the amount of refunds relative to payments made during 2019. All refunds made through Paytrail are included. In reality, some merchants handle refunds directly with the consumer, which would not affect the chart format, but the amount of refunds.
We looked at returns in various industries. Most industries behaved similarly, however the return rate of the stores selling clothing and the time at which the refunds were made differed significantly from the rest.
There are also big fluctuations in clothing stores and the chart shows the average. For example, our customers also have online stores selling custom products, and their products cannot even be returned. This affects the average. The news often refers to a 30-50% return rate, and it certainly holds true in many online clothing stores. So, if the return rate of your own store is higher than the average in our chart, there's no need be concerned.
The chart below shows the proportion of returns over time. This is a distinction between online clothing stores and other online stores, because the difference is significant.
Orders are canceled for both groups on the same or next day. It is unlikely that the product has even reached the consumer by this time. Once a day has elapsed since the order, the number of refunds begins to decline. In clothing stores, though, only momentarily. Approximately 5-6 days from the order, the refunds for clothing stores will start to rise again, reaching their peak 2-3 weeks after the order. In other online stores, there seems to be no such new rise.
As environmental issues become increasingly fundamental to our choices, it will be interesting to see how the share of returns develops in the future. Will we see very different figures in these charts in a year or two. Hopefully.