Post COVID-19: Could free returns finally be a thing of the past?

Anders Ankarlid
14 min readApr 16, 2020

Summary: eCommerce old-timer Anders Ankarlid highlights the mind-blowing costs of free returns, and how online retailers and the environment are splitting the bill. The full consequences of COVID-19 are hitting eCommerce companies — and their bottom-line — hard. A new world that will see a heavily reduced profit margin for the eCommerce giants, will also be the end of free returns for you.

Learn more about how big eCommerce companies are losing more than €1 billion due to increased shipping cost, what this means for you as a consumer and some tangible tips on what to do post COVID-19.

There’s one thing about ordering things online that I bet most of you don’t even think about. I’d even go so far as to say that you take for granted the very existence of what I’m referring to.

Maybe you guessed it already? That’s right.

Free deliveries and returns.

If there’s one aspect of eCommerce that I’ve always had a problem with during my many successful, and let’s face it, less successful, online retail ventures, it’s the free returns policy that has become a staple in the business.

If you break it down into super-easy, bite-sized lingo, it goes a little something like this: