|Sun Nov 3 2013 21:13:16|
Different Approaches to Returns: eBay versus Bloomingdale's
By: Ina Steiner
Bloomingdale's is using a new technique this year to try and reduce the practice of "wardrobing" - wearing clothing and then returning it for a refund (the practice is also called "renting" by online sellers). You can read about the controversial b-tags in Monday's Newsflash newsletter.
In doing some research on the issue, it seems wardrobing is common and even considered an acceptable practice by some, but for online sellers, it's a major problem. Try reselling a returned garment that has stains or odors.
But rather than discouraging returns, eBay is sending a different message to buyers and in fact, it is changing the name of its Buyer Protection policy to "eBay Money Back Guarantee." Why is it making the change? "Confidence pays," eBay said in an email notice to sellers:
"Buyers who know their purchases are covered by buyer protection spend, on average, more than twice* as much on eBay as buyers who aren't aware of the program. Buyers feel more confident knowing they'll get what they ordered or their money back. And more confident buyers means more sales for you. By using the name 'eBay Money Back Guarantee', we're simply highlighting the benefits of buyer protection."
Bloomindale's actually has a generous returns policy, but is targeting an area overridden with fraud (expensive dresses).
Likewise, "one size does not fit all" on eBay (no pun intended), and some return fraud is rampant in certain categories or conditions of goods. Rather than working to reduce return fraud, eBay has created a one-size-fits-all Managed Returns policy and encourages sellers to accept returns for any reason.
How big of a problem is return fraud for you? What do you think of Bloomingdale's b-tags, and could eBay learn a lesson from "real" retailers about return policies?