Returns - what happens to returned clothing bought online?

Posted by Emmie McNair on

So, everyone knows someone who buys loads of clothing online and returns most of it, right? Maybe you do this yourself. Concerns over fit, colour etc are understandable and vast numbers of customers order the same item in two or more sizes then return the ones they don't want. But have you ever asked yourself what happens to the things that you return? Recyclable packaging imageWell, sadly the vast majority of it ends up in landfill or incinerated. Estimates put the figure at some 90% of returned online clothing gets destroyed before anyone has even worn it.                                                                                                                                            Wait, what? Yes, it sounds crazy but here's the thing. When you buy from a big brand, it often costs them more to have an actual person check the item over, re-enter it into the inventory system and then physically put it back into stock than it cost them to produce the item in the first place. So profit wise, it make sense to them to bin it. 

So what can you, as a consumer do to help stop this waste? The good news is that there's actually quite a lot.

  • You can check the sizing chart on websites against your own measurements then try to order the correct size the first time around. 
  • Try to avoid impulse buying. Remember that companies use lots of tricks to make you think you're missing out if you don't buy right now. Think about whether you really love an item before hitting Add To Cart. 
  • Call out your favourite brands, tag them on social media and ask them what happens to returns. If they don't answer or the answer is vague, it's not a good sign.
  • Buy from smaller retailers, not only will you be supporting a small business, but these guys are more likely to add any returns back into stock. Plus, the quality is often much better than mass produced products. 

Recyclable packaging gift boxed productAt Emily McNair design, we are quite happy to help you choose the correct size the first time around. Our sizing chart is here: Sizing Chart and if you aren't sure, please contact us for additional help. If your measurements fall outside of our standard, we can usually make you an item to fit at no additional cost. And of course, all returns are checked, pressed and returned to stock. Though thankfully, the vast majority of our customers are delighted, returns are a rare occurrence at McNair HQ! For our full returns policy, see HERE



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