Online fashion retailers limit free delivery

Zalando, Europe’s largest online-only fashion retailer, has said it will begin to charge delivery for smaller orders across more markets in response to shrinking order size, Reuters has reported.

The e-commerce business initially enjoyed rapid growth due to its free delivery and returns, but the rise of mobile commerce has changed customer behaviour, with the size of orders getting smaller, driving up logistics costs.

Zalando has already introduced a minimum order value to qualify for free delivery in Italy, Spain, Britain and Ireland, which has had no effect on customer satisfaction, according to the company’s finance chief David Schroeder.

The initiative now will be extended to Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway at the end of May.

The move echoes H&M’s announcement last month that it would reintroduce delivery fees for its loyalty club members to cut down on similar logistics costs and restore profitability.

“We have a lot of logistics around the customers that shop online,” H&M head of customer loyalty Samuel Holst told Reuters.

“For the plus level, deliveries will remain free for all purchases, but for the base level there will be a cap. You will need to shop for a certain amount to get free delivery.”

While many retailers have invested significant sums in designing their websites and ad campaigns for mobile, these changes suggest that more work is needed to adapt retail businesses to the smartphone era.

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