Amazon built its business on customer service, believing that everything would fall into place if the company made shopping easy and convenient. Example: Their returns policy allows customers to return millions of items they don’t want for free.
But that return policy is also extremely expensive. A record $761 billion worth of merchandise was returned to retailers in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation.
Amazon owns Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh, and Kohl’s partners with the company.
Amazon also warns consumers about “often returneditems sold on their site. They recently introduced a badge that tells customers to check the product details and customer reviews for items with higher return rates in their product category.
Related: San Francisco Whole Foods is Closing to ‘Maintain Safety’ of Employees
Amazon cuts costs
The new return fee is the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by Amazon. Last month, the company announced it would lay off 9,000 workers, following an earlier round of layoffs last year that saw pink slips handed out to more than 18,000 employees.
While Amazon’s return costs are surprising, they’re not unprecedented. Other retail chains have recently done away with their free online returns policies, including Abercrombie & Fitch (which costs $7), American Eagle, Foot Locker, Urban Outfitters, and Zara.
If there’s any good news from this new return policy, it’s that it has a positive impact on the environment. Return shipments cause 16 million tons of carbon emissions and up to 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste in the US each year, according to Optor.
Fewer returns means less waste, even if it costs you money.