Like many retail categories, clothing retailers typically
offer options in regards to allowing product returns. It is
important for clothes and footwear stores to have such policies because
garment fit is very important. Often a consumer will try an item
on at the store, but after returning home they discover that the shoe or
clothes did not fit as well as they originally thought. When this
occurs, the consumer typically would like to return or exchange their
Often times apparel is bought as a gift for other people. When
the recipient recieves the gift, they may discover that the garment
size, fabrication, or color is not per their liking. In this case,
they may wish to return the item for a more appropriate size, style, or
What is the difference between an exchange and a return?
Exchange - the consumer gives the store back
merchandise in exchange for another item of equal value. For
example, if I bought a red t-shirt in size medium but realize that I
have eaten too much and now fit into a size large. I take the
medium back to the store and they will exchange it for a size large
(note: I should NOT do this with used shirts. Only exchange a new
shirt for a new shirt in a different size)
Return - when a consumer brings new clothing back to
the store for a refund.
Before purchasing clothes, footwear, or accessories it is a good idea
to learn about the stores return, refund and exchange policy.
- Some stores require receipts, others do not.
- Some stores have time limits, others do not (Example, you can
return this product within 30 days of purchase).
- Some stores offer a complete refund, and others charge a
- Some stores offer no return, exchange, or refund options at all.
- Some stores will only give you and in-store credit rather than
return your money.
- Their are many other options available to policy writers...
Most retailers strive for a quick, easy, and positive return
experience because they understand that they should keep customer
service in mind at all times. They most certainly need to keep the
customers thoughts as a high prioritiy while writing a return policy.
Each store will have their own guidelines in the event a purchase
must be returned or exchanged. It is important to understand the
policy "prior" to making a purchase.
apparel retailers are competing for their business. Most stores
will do their best to maintain similar policies to one another.
For example, if John's boutique takes returns and Mary's boutique down
the road does not, it is likely that John may benefit with a higher
volume of sales. However, he also may be saddled with additional
expenses that are caused by the return process.
What do clothing stores do with the merchandise that is returned?
This would depend on the reason for the return. If the product
is still first quality, they may return the garment to the shelf or rack
to be sold again. If the item has been worn or it was returned due
to some sort of damage or manufacturer defect, it may destroyed or sold
off as closeout. This can be done with the assistance of a apparel
If you would like to learn more about
textile and clothing jobbers, you can read the jobber term for more