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What you need to know about holiday returns

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and the shopping has already begun. While holiday shopping can be a headache, we’re here to alleviate some of those anxieties. Here are all the tips and tricks you need to know about this 2022 holiday shopping season, including how to master return policies and find the best sales. 

Why to shop early and how to get the best deals 

Supply chain issues and shipping delays have plagued holiday shoppers since COVID. Of the 3 billion packages delivered during the 2020 holiday season, 72% were delivered on time in December, as opposed to 75% the year prior. With most people opting to shop online for their holiday gifts, it’s important to leave extra time for your deliveries this season.

Out-of-stock items are also more common than ever. In 2021, online out-of-stock messages increased by 256% during the holiday season, compared to 2019. What’s worse than something not arriving on time for the holidays? Not being able to buy it at all—or worse, buying a gift that takes four months to arrive (some of us have felt the pain on this one).

Order your gifts and holiday necessities early this season to ensure they’re still in stock and will be delivered on time. 

You might be thinking, “I’m sure this will go on sale in the next two months. Why would I buy it now?” Here’s how to get ahead AND still get the best price: Many retailers offer price-match guarantees, even during the holiday season. For example, if you buy something at Target starting October 6th and the price goes down on or before December 24th, you can request a price match with proof of purchase

Check your retailer’s price match policy before placing your holiday orders. You may have even bought something within the past month that you can price match to a lower dollar amount right now. Take advantage of price-matching this holiday season, and start shopping early to beat the rush. 

Holiday shopping means holiday returns

Holiday returns have increased for eight consecutive years and it’s quite likely you’ll be returning something post-holidays, as 33% of adult Americans expected to make a return before the end of January. Last year, UPS predicted a 23% increase in returns from the year before, and we can expect to see this trend continue. So what do you need to know about holiday returns?

National Returns Day (January 2nd) has more or less become National Returns Week, as UPS expected their return package volume to reach 8.75 million the week of January 4th in 2021. This means most holiday returns will happen right after New Year’s, so expect longer-than-ever lines at UPS, FedEx, the post office, and return counters. That’s where Oops comes in—we’ll do the returning for you and save you the hassle of waiting in line (for what could be hours…). 

What to know about this year’s holiday return policies

In the past, retailers have commonly offered free and flexible returns during and after the holidays; however, with inflation and rising transportation costs, more and more retailers are reconsidering their return policies. This season, H&M is charging $5.99 for online returns, while J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch have flat fees between $7-$7.50 for online returns. Zara charges a $3.95 fee for customers returning at a third party drop-off point. 

Walmart and Target are a few retailers that are offering free returns for most products from now until the end of January 2023. Nordstrom has also always been flexible with returns. Most Amazon items purchased between Oct. 11 and Dec. 25 can be returned until January 31, 2022. 

With changing economic patterns this holiday season, you may be less likely to find a retailer offering flexible returns for the holiday season. Be sure to double check your retailer’s return policy before purchasing. This can usually be found in the footer of the webpage at checkout. 

You can also use Oops to return items faster and easier from the comfort of your home. Sign up here for free return pickups for the next 30 days. 

How to get the most out of this year’s holiday sales

When it comes to holiday sales, we have some good news and bad news. We can start with the bad. During the 2021 holiday season, retailers offered smaller discounts on products and higher online prices. This year is not likely to be too different. Inflation and supply chain costs are leading to higher prices online and in-store for many retailers. 

However, the biggest shopping day of the year is still approaching and it is not something to ignore. Many retailers have already begun Black Fridaysales and deals. Keep an eye on retailers like Macy’s, Walmart, and Target, which tend to offer deals all month long. Electronics companies like Dell and Sony are also offering deals prior to the big shopping weekend at the end of the month. 

Websites like blackfriday.com and techradar.com have compiled lists of deals that are constantly being updated. Sales are happening every single day, and for those popular items this holiday season, you’ll want to be the first to hear about it (not the 150,000th viewer on TikTok). 

Holiday shopping is no joke—and neither are holiday returns. We’re here to help you navigate the process. Keep an eye on our Instagram and TikTok accounts for more tips as the holiday season rolls around, and snag your free trial of Oops if you haven’t already. We’ll take care of all your holiday returns so you can beat the lines, take a breath, and enjoy the time with your family.

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