Especially around the holidays, retailers love to coin names for gimmicky sales events—Green Monday and Cyber Week, to name a couple examples. Funny: So far, no one has come up with an official name for this week, which is expected to be the year’s busiest period for returning online purchases, coming on the heels of what was by far the biggest season ever for online shopping.
E-Return Week? Online Shopping Regret Week? Digital Do-over Week? Holiday Debt Hangover Week? Looks-Nothing-Like-It-Did-On-the-Website Week? There has be something catchier than these.
The period now in the rearview mirror was a monster holiday season for online shopping. Spending records for Cyber Monday and beyond were left in the dust, and the season saw an overall 15% rise in online purchases.
What’s now following that epic online spending binge should come as no surprise. In the same way that there were record returns of Black Friday purchases occurring even before Christmas Day, we’re in the midst of a record-setting period for e-retail returns.
Reuters reports that UPS was expecting Tuesday, January 3, to set an all-time record for the number of purchases shipping for returns. More than 550,000 packages were expected to be returned to e-retailers, a rise of 8% from the year earlier.
While it was notable that consumers topped $1 billion in e-purchases on several days during the holiday season, UPS points out its own remarkable threshold marker: Throughout much of the first week of the year, the shipping specialist expects to handle more a half a million returns daily
While returns are costly for retailers to handle—somebody has to inspect the returned merchandise and process the transactions—the fact that this year will set records for returns can actually be viewed as a sign of e-retail’s strength, and the potential for even more growth. How so? Studies show that when consumers are comfortable with a store’s return policy, they’re more likely to shop at the store over and over.
These are the kinds of returns—return shopper visits, not returns of merchandise—that retailers love.