Jason Taylor explores the whacky world of returns on BBC Radio 4

Returns were up an astounding 14% in January 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, despite a 3% decrease in overall orders. Last year also saw world-leading brands such as boohoo, Zara, UNIQLO, and more start charging a small fee to make a return, resulting in paid returns jumping by 122% over peak season. It makes the jump in returns even more puzzling.

BBC Radio 4 invited ZigZag Global’s Commercial Director, Jason Taylor, to unpack exactly what is going on in the whacky world of eCommerce returns. Armed with fresh statistics pulled from ZigZag’s award-winning returns platform as well as insight into consumer trends from The ZigZag Global Retail Returns Study 2022, Jason was more than ready to offer up his expert opinion.

Exploring the hot topic of paid returns, as well as a dive into how to use data analytics to reduce returns and the importance of multiple carrier options, the session provided plenty of practical advice for retailers looking to optimise their returns process and improve the experience for their customers.

Host Winifred Robinson introduced the segment on the Your and Yours programme with some mixed opinions from online shoppers across the UK’s most popular high streets. Whilst a few seemed to be a little bit forgetful sending their returns back, others were ready and raring to get their returns back when it’s a free return. Our data paints a slightly more returns-hungry picture of the standard eCommerce shopper, with 76-80% of consumers checking the returns policy before purchasing.

Jason was asked whether wrong size is still the main reason customers make a return and what can be done to reduce this type of return and improve the customer experience…

“Around 60% of the returns we see are for sizing issues and there is a lot more that retailers can do [to reduce those returns]. At ZigZag we can provide some really great data insights to our retailers…so they can actually see which customers are returning items, what they are returning [and why]…we can identify a particular jacket for example…that needs to be taken off the shelves. A lot more retailers are looking into displaying more models so you can see the same item on different shape bodies so it will stop [returns abuse] like bracketing.”

ZigZag was delighted to be welcomed back onto BBC Radio 4 for another returns discussion and, as eCommerce and returns continue to grow, we are sure that the topic would have been of interest to most of show’s 11 million+ weekly listeners. We would like to thank Winifred Robinson and the BBC Radio 4 team for the invitation as we are always excited to provide the voice for reverse logistics!