Online fashion retailer Boozt AB has blocked 42,000 customers for returning too many items, citing the cost to the company and the environment. The blocked customers represented less than 2% of Boozt’s customer base but accounted for around 25% of the total return volume. The company estimates that by pausing these accounts and reducing unnecessary returns, it saved approximately 791 tons of CO2 in 2022, which eliminated the need for around 600 delivery trucks in one year. Online shopping has a greater environmental toll due to the higher number of exchanges or returns than in-store purchases, and the norm of free returns encourages this behavior.
Online fashion retailer Boozt AB has taken a stand against excessive returns, blocking 42,000 customers who have returned too many items. As mentioned in a spokesperson for the company, these customers “repeatedly exploit the high service levels of free shipping and returns at the expense of our business, other customers and the environment.”
The move comes as part of Boozt’s efforts to reduce the environmental impact of online shopping. Unable to try on or test out items online, shoppers are more likely to order multiple sizes and colours, then return the items they don’t want. Free returns have become the norm for major online retailers, which encourages this behaviour.
The cost of excessive returns
The blocked customers represent less than 2 per cent of the more than 3 million customers on Boozt but around 25 per cent of the total return volume, As mentioned in the spokesperson. By pausing these accounts and reducing unnecessary returns, Boozt saved approximately 791 tons of CO2 in 2022, which has eliminated the need for approximately 600 delivery trucks during one year.
Every year, 3.5 billion products are returned in the US alone, resulting in 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.
Environmental impact of online shopping
Online purchases result in a greater number of exchanges or returns than in-store purchases. This is due to the fact that shoppers are unable to try on or test out items before purchasing them. As a result, companies like Boozt are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of excessive returns.
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, and around half of these were returned.
The need for sustainable practices
Boozt’s decision to block customers who return too many items is part of a growing trend among retailers to reduce the environmental impact of online shopping. As consumers become more aware of the need for sustainable practices, companies are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and minimise waste.
By reducing the number of unnecessary returns, Boozt is not only saving money but also reducing its impact on the environment. As the spokesperson for the company points out, excessive returns are bad for business and the environment, and it is up to companies to take responsibility for their impact.
As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, it is more important than ever for retailers to adopt sustainable practices. By taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of excessive returns, companies like Boozt are leading the way in creating a more sustainable future.
As mentioned in Euronews