Zalando has ended free delivery in three more European countries as the retail industry begins to take a harder stance on previously generous policies.
Customers will now have to pay delivery charges on orders under a specified certain value in the UK, Ireland and Spain.
The charges are set at £3, €3 and €3.50 in the UK, Ireland and Spain respectively. The minimum order values are set at £19.90 in the UK and €24.90 in Ireland and Spain.
Returns will still be free in Ireland and Spain. In the UK, if the purchase is below the minimum order value of £19.90 and the customer has paid the standard delivery charge this will be refunded if the order is returned.
Zalando first introduced delivery charges in Italy back in November. Delivery is still free in its other markets. The company uses fulfilment partners including DHL and Hermes.
While generous shipping policies are popular with customers and may increase conversion, they may impose a significant financial burden on retailers.
ASOS made headlines earlier this month when it also announced it might take action against serial returns, telling customers in an email that it may “investigate and take action” if it notices an “unusual pattern”.
UPDATE: In a statement emailed to eDelivery today (23 April), Zalando shed more light on the change in policy, explaining that these markets behaved differently to other European countries.
“At Zalando, we aim to bring the fitting room into people’s homes. Our customers can order several items and try them on in the comfort of their homes, only keeping what they really want.”
However, the retailer said customers in the UK, Spain and Ireland had been placing relatively small orders, meaning that they had “not yet fully explored the advantages of shopping on Zalando.”
The policy therefore “aims at incentivising our customers to bundle more items, increasing basket sizes, and therefore enhancing more efficient delivery and returns services, and therefore a more sustainable business.
“This measure is enabling us to continue to satisfy the growing expectations of our customers in the services that they are really looking for, while continuing to offer an almost limitless selection of 300,000 fashion and lifestyle articles, and diverse localised convenience services, from payments to delivery options.”