Instagram OOTD Triggers High Product Returns

Instagram fashion returns
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Never wear an outfit twice is the mantra of Instagram users who would go to great lengths to post their outfit of the day (OOTD) online, even if it means buying new clothes and returning them the next day.

A survey commissioned by credit card company Barclaycard showed that one in 10 UK shoppers admitted that they buy clothes online to use on social media.

Once they’re done taking pictures of the clothes and have successfully uploaded their OOTD to Instagram, they return the clothes back to the store.

The survey of 2,002 adults revealed that shoppers aged 35 to 44 are more prone to shopping for OOTD purposes.

What’s surprising about the results is that more men are guilty of doing this, with 12% admitting that they’ve done it before, compared to only 7% of women.

Is Instagram to be blamed?

Instagram social media logoHigh product returns are hurting the profits of many retailers, so there’s a need to identify the real cause of the problem.

While Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites have clearly developed excessive self-love, allowing everyone to post anything—from what they had for breakfast down to their sleepwear—they can’t be held solely responsible for the high returns that retailers are currently experiencing.

They may fuel people’s whims but social media is not capable of providing those whims.

Barclaycard points to the “try before you buy” scheme, which allows shoppers to order clothes to try on and return those that they don’t want to keep, as the main culprit of the returns culture.

To minimize, if not completely stop, the practice of returning purchased goods, the company suggests that retailers show their customers the many different ways they can wear a piece of clothing.

“It’s interesting to see the social media trend further fuelling the returns culture. We know from our research that returns are having a big impact on retailers, with a huge figure of seven billion pounds a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise. Retailers are adopting new processes to make returns easier as they know how important this is to customers.

But to ensure shoppers are getting more wear out of their clothes – for posting on social media or for those real-life moments – retailers could think about introducing more varied photography and video content to their websites. By showing how to style items for different looks and how they will appear when worn, they could reduce the number of shoppers ‘snapping and sending back’.” – George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions

What’s your take on this issue, have you suspected one of your customers of doing this? Let us know in the comments below or over in our Facebook Group.


For almost 10 years Dave has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant it was the opportunity to start UnderstandingE with Matt Ogborne showing the world how to utilize Magento as the Third Generation of Multi-Channel software. Dave also recently started a YouTube channel called the Manc Entrepreneur (click YouTube icon link below to watch Dave's videos) where he discusses all things eCommerce and entrepreneurship aimed to help young entrepreneurs get started on their own journey. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include, Technology, Cars and throwing himself off high things into water.


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