Swiss consulting company Carpathia examined and compared the shipping and return conditions of the 100 biggest online stores in Switzerland. The results show that Swiss online merchants show some serious shortcoming, especially with regards to customer service.

Carpathia examined whether shipping is free or that it becomes free after a certain order value has been reached, whether goods can be returned for free and how long consumers have the time for returning products.

The Swiss company said it was sometimes hard to collect all this information, “if it was possible at all”. The return conditions were even less transparent than the shipping. “If a provider doesn’t want to have its products returned, that’s his right (at least here in Switzerland), but then it should at least be communicated clearly and transparently.” The company continues: “It’s unnerving to read through the FAQs and Terms and still not knowing whether and in what period of time an order can be returned.”

The shops selling ship which clothing, textiles and footwear free to 17%, 25% send as a threshold for free and 58% of the shops always require shipping fees.

Shipping conditions in Switzerland

Carpathia found that with retailers selling foods and drinks the minimum order value is on average the highest, 317 Swiss francs (about 291 euros). Media retailers have the lowest threshold, as they will deliver for free if someone orders products with a total value of at least 35 euros.

60% of fashion retailers ask a shipping fee

The research shows that around 60 percent of the biggest fashion retailers in Switzerland always ask a certain shipping fee. “This is the highest percentage across all industries, even though there many other categories who have to deal with much lower margins. When will the fashion industry wake up and move out of their comfort zone?”, Carpathia asks.

Swiss consumer must pay for returning items

With regards to the return conditions, a very uniform picture is shown: if the customer wants to return the goods, he needs to pay for the shipping costs himself. Only five of the hundred examined shops in Switzerland pay these costs for the customer, so he can return products for free.