How Retailers Can Save Money by Donating Online Returns

Sep 14, 2023
Chai NadigFounder, CTO

The substantial growth of online purchases over the past few years has brought convenience to consumers' fingertips—but it’s also led to a significant increase in online returns. That’s left retailers grappling with the rising costs of handling these returns, not to mention the environmental impact of sending many of these items to landfills.


Let's start with the numbers. Return rates for e-commerce purchases can be as high as 30%, compared to just 9% for in-store purchases—and all of these add up, coming in at a staggering $816 billion annually. Retailers spend billions of dollars each year on processing, shipping, handling, restocking, and eventually disposing of online returns.

For starters, processing online returns isn’t cheap. Tack on labor costs associated with inspecting them for damage, restocking, and (maybe) making them suitable for resale, and the costs only increase. In many cases, retailers can only sell returned items at a steep discount, meaning less money in. The fees associated with return shipping, processing, and landfilling cut deeper into retailers' bottom lines.

Let’s break this down. Using a $22 item, retailers spend an average of $15 to landfill it. Multiply that times a quarter’s worth of returns—remember that consumers return 30% of online buys—and it’s clear that returns take a massive bite out of retailers’ profit margins.

Online Returns Cost Retailers and the Planet Significant Resources

Beyond the financial implications, returns are terrible for the environment. When returned items end up in landfills, they contribute to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste ever-shrinking resources. The carbon footprint of returning and disposing of merchandise is a problem that's all too real, and retailers and consumers deserve a responsible, cost-saving solution.

And that solution is LiquiDonate.

Retailers now have a simple, cost-effective solution to donate rather than landfill their online returns and excess inventory. Through Magic Matches, LiquiDonate’s Donation-as-a-Service API, nonprofits will be matched with customers' online returns. Retailers simply integrate the API with their POS system, enabling consumers to donate their returns rather than send them back to the warehouse and, ultimately, the dump.

And retailers don’t need to worry about return fraud. With LiquiDonate, retailers can issue a refund only after the consumer’s item has reached the nonprofit. But what about excess inventory? Retailers don’t need to worry about that, either. With LiquiDonate’s Bulk Donation Tool, retailers can easily upload thousands of items right in their LiquiDonate dashboard.

Don't Lose Money on Online Returns. Donate and Save with LiquiDonate.

Don’t let online returns eat into your revenue, add to your organization's carbon footprint, and end up in the landfill. Contact us today to discover how much money your business can save by choosing to donate rather than dump your online returns and excess inventory.


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