NEW YORK – After shoppers put their last Christmas presents under the tree, United States of America Retailers It prepares for a record flood of proceeds of online gifts purchased during the deadly increase in coronavirus cases.
To make the process more efficient, retailers including Walmart Inc and Target Corp are allowing shoppers to drop unwanted gifts at FedEx or United Parcel Service delivery locations.
Other companies, including Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nordstrom, are offering returns on the sidewalk for the first time as efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 have resulted in stores closing or reducing the number of customers allowed inside.
Revenue is set to balloon this year. Shoppers seeking to avoid infections have turned from stores to the internet – where return rates are historically higher. Retailers are also under pressure to make the process as smooth as possible for shoppers who want to keep them as old customers and also for UPS and FedEx, who are packed with packages.
Some malls are even moving to make returns easier for tenants. The Mall of America and Simon Property Group teamed up with Narvar, a returns management provider, to eliminate the need for shoppers to print return labels for the packages they download.
The National Retail Federation expects 2020 holiday sales to jump 5.2% from a year ago to $ 766.7 billion. The trade group said nearly 13% of the merchandise, or about $ 101 billion worth of merchandise, sold during the 2020 holiday season will be returned.
Optoro, which helps retailers sort, resell and dispose of returned merchandise, puts the number even higher. It expects US holiday revenue for 2020 to reach $ 115 billion between Thanksgiving Day and the end of January. This is a 15% increase from the 2019 forecast released by the company, of which UPS and IKEA are among its investors.
Rob Zomok, head of global operations at Inmar Intelligence, which processes nearly 600 million e-commerce and e-commerce revenue annually, said the in-store return rate of clothing is 5-8%, while online business is around 30%.
“These accounts have created a significant increase in revenues,” Zomok said, adding that apparel revenue had reached a record high.
“When shopping is 100% online, chances are you are ordering some extra items with the intention of returning,” said Sriram Sridhar, CEO of LateShipment.com, which helps customers track packages.
“We expect each retailer to experience roughly 50% more returns than they have experienced in past years during the holiday season,” said Sridhar.
Moreover, retailers are also quarantining or sterilizing products after returning them to ensure they are virus-free.
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“This is not your usual way of processing revenue,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at RSR Research. Kohl’s, which collects Amazon.com returns and sends them in bulk again to the e-tailer, has extended its deadline for premium electronics
She joins a host of retailers, including Walmart, Macy’s and Amazon, who are giving shoppers more time to return their purchases – a move that could make seasonal merchandise difficult to resell. Zumok from Inmar said turning these products for resale is vital – especially for the fast-fashion retailers who sell trendy clothes.
“The window will be short,” said Zoomoc.