What Happens to Online Shopping Returns restofworld.org

Meaghan Tobin, Wency Chen, and Abubakar Idris, Rest of World:

There were more than 1,600 listings for Shein suppliers on Alibaba at the end of January, and ten of the first 30 listings also advertise as sellers of used, secondhand, or bulk wholesale clothing. Some of the pages offer to ship Shein goods in bulk, while others include photos of piled, Shein-branded plastic bags. Shein told Rest of World that the company’s suppliers are not authorized to sell Shein products for any purposes aside from fulfilling Shein orders. “Shein only orders what it can sell,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “We prohibit suppliers from selling oversupply, to prevent the production of counterfeit material, of which all overstock is.”


Retailers who sell on Amazon can choose to have the e-commerce behemoth manage their logistics with their in-house team. “There’s a setting where you can choose to have all of your returned inventory destroyed,” said Ada. She chooses this option most frequently. Another alternative is to have the Amazon warehouse evaluate the item’s resale potential, but she would have to pay Amazon for storage space for those items until they resold.

Among the most eye-opening details in this article, about one-fifth of the value of U.S. online orders are returned every year. That is an enormous amount of waste — potential and realized.

Also, a neat use of AirTags in this article.

Previously: Free returns incentivize waste, and Amazon’s product destruction.