Returns soared when online retailing took hold, but solving for returns is less efficient than delivering what people actually want. WalMart is betting on efficiencies in processing returns and refunds, but needs to find a way to connect with and better serve online customers, so that returns fall back to historical norms.
The rise of online shopping has made consumers more prone to returning items, and Walmart is looking to respond. Between 15 and 30 per cent of purchases made over the internet end up being returned, analysts estimate, compared to less than 10 per cent of in-store purchases. Returns are even more common when people buy clothing or shoes online, because they cannot try them on before buying.