An online fashion retailer has blocked 42,000 customers from its site for returning too many items, sparking a wave of backlash and debate over the environmental and financial impact of online shopping.Embed from Getty Images
The retailer is Bootz AB, a Sweden-based company that sells clothes, shoes and accessories from over 1,000 brands. The blocked customers had returned more than 50% of their orders in the past year, which cost the company about $19 million in lost revenue and shipping fees.
“We think it’s reasonable that if you use our service like a rental service, where you order something and send it back, then maybe you should not shop with us,” said a Bootz spokesman.
Some customers were outraged by the ban and accused the company of poor customer service and quality control. “I think it’s outrageous. They are basically punishing their loyal customers,” said Anna Larsson, a blocked customer who said she spent about $2,600 on the site last year.
Others praised the company for taking a stand against excessive consumption and waste. “I think it’s a good initiative. It makes you think twice before you order something you don’t really need or want,” said Sofia Berglund, a customer who supports the company’s decision.
The company said it was trying to reduce its carbon footprint and encourage more mindful shopping habits among its customers. “We want to inspire our customers to shop more consciously. We want them to buy things they really love and will use for a long time,” said Bootz CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski.
The move is unprecedented in the online retail industry, according to experts. “It’s a very bold move. I don’t know of any other retailer that has done something like this,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.
Saunders said that returns are one of the biggest challenges for online retailers, as they erode profits and generate greenhouse gas emissions. He said that retailers need to find ways to reduce returns, such as improving product descriptions, photos and sizing guides, as well as offering incentives for keeping items or donating them to charity.
Online retailer blocks 42,000 customers for returning too many items | The Independent | May 25, 2023
Online fashion retailer blocks 42,000 customers for ‘excessive’ returns | The Guardian | May 25, 2023
Online retailer’s ban on ‘serial returners’ sparks debate over sustainability | CNN | May 26, 2023