Swedish online fashion retailer Boozt AB has blocked 42,000 customers for returning too many items, which it says are too costly for both the company and the environment. The returns of the blocked customers represented less than 2% of the company’s more than 3 million customers, but accounted for around 25% of the total return volume. The company estimates that by stopping the accounts, it saved approximately 791 tonnes of CO2 in 2022, which eliminated the need for approximately 600 delivery trucks in one year. The company operates in several European countries and is listed on NASDAQ.
As seen in the coverage by Euronews Green, online fashion retailer Boozt AB has recently blocked 42,000 customers for returning too many items. The company has stated that excessive returns are not only costly for the business but also harmful to the environment.
Boozt AB is a multi-brand online store that sells clothes and beauty products. Customers who were indefinitely blocked had sent back items either because they didn’t fit or because they regretted the purchase. As seen in the coverage by company spokesperson Ask Kirkeskov Riis, these customers “repeatedly exploit the high service levels of free shipping and returns at the expense of our business, other customers and the environment.”
While the blocked customers represent less than 2% of the more than 3 million customers on Boozt, they account for around 25% of the total return volume. By pausing these accounts and reducing unnecessary returns, Boozt AB has saved approximately 791 tons of CO2 in 2022, which has eliminated the need for approximately 600 delivery trucks during one year.
The environmental impact of online shopping has been a growing concern in recent years. Unable to try on or test out items online, shoppers are more likely to order lots of sizes and colours then return the items they don’t want. Online purchases therefore result in a greater number of exchanges or returns than in-store purchases.
Free returns have become the norm for major online retailers, which encourages this behaviour. Every year, 3.5 billion products are returned in the US alone. Optoro, a platform used to optimise returns, estimates that this leads to 13 tonnes of CO2 being released into the environment as part of the returns process. Over 2 billion kilograms of these returned products end up in landfill, as many companies don’t have the time or technology to sort damaged goods from those that were simply unwanted.
Some European nations have banned the destruction of usable returned products, like electronics and clothing. However, online retailers can bypass this by transporting items to countries that do not enforce a ban. Europe’s largest online fashion retailer Zalando delivered more than 250 million orders in 2021 alone. Of these, around half were returned.
While it may be convenient for customers to take advantage of free returns, it is important to consider the environmental impact of excessive returns. Boozt AB’s decision to block customers who repeatedly return items serves as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to shop more sustainably and reduce our As a result impact on the environment.