The days of free postage and returns for online shopping would appear to be over, with an increasing number of retailers asking customers to pay for post and packing, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.
Retail advisory group Simon-Kucher carried out the research on behalf of the paper and found ‘many e-commerce companies are reconsidering their policy on returns’, because of increasing costs.
In addition, consumers are sending more products back, a process which costs about twice as much as the initial postage and packaging, director Mark Helder told the FD.
Among the changes: clothing giant Zalando has introduced costs for small orders, DIY chain Hornbach is charging customers a supplement because of high transport costs and computer store Alternate has introduced return costs of €5.95.
‘Retailers have spoiled consumers unbelievably with free post and returns,’ said Michiel Witteveen, owner of the Blokker and Intertoys chains.
Blokker offers free post for items costing more than €25 and Intertoys €20. ‘A present costing €10 is not profitable when it comes to home delivery, even if you do charge something for the postage,’ Witteveen said.
The popularity of online shopping soared during the coronavirus lockdowns but since then the ‘golden age’ would appear to be over, the FD said.
Online retailers made record profits but now several big players have given profit warnings. For example Dutch home grown retailer Bol.com said in September it would scrap 300 jobs in order to make savings of €225 million.
In June, MPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of a motion urging the government to take steps to reduce the amount of boxes and packaging used by online retailers and to encourage the development of reusable options.
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