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August 4, 2021
How E-Commerce Can Reduce Both Shoe Returns and Environmental Effects
A mobile 3D foot scanning app can help solve some of the biggest e-commerce challenges for footwear brands: the online fitting experience, the dreaded returns, and the resulting environmental waste.
During the 2020 pandemic, many trends that were already taking place in retail sped up and benefitted shoppers by making their experience more convenient, seamless, and safer. Trends like appointment scheduling, virtual fittings, curbside pick up, and contactless payments, to name a few. Yet, one negative uptick for online consumers, retailers, and the environment is free returns due to inconsistent sizing. Both of these factors help create a return culture when it comes to online shopping.
How did the return culture emerge and become such a significant factor in environmental waste? Retailers started offering free shipping for purchases and returns to stay competitive, and customers now expect it before making a purchase. According to Susan Cullinane, a professor at the University of Gothenburg's School of Business, Economics and Law, "almost no-one dares to charge for returned goods." In her report, Substantial Environmental Impact From Returned Goods, the return culture started because of free return policies coupled with inconsistency in sizing, both harming the environment and customer satisfaction.
For example, an avid sneaker buyer with size 9 feet understands that receiving a comfortable fit could mean ordering a size 8.5 or even a size 10, depending on the brand or model.