ZigZag partners with Hemster to revive damaged retail returns

Together the companies will reshape the way retailers think about returned and damaged goods
Dec 19
ZigZag partners with Hemster to revive damaged retail returns

ZigZag is delighted to announce its partnership with Hemster. Together the companies will reshape the way retailers think about returned and damaged goods, creating a new class of inventory built around an eco-friendly mindset. This innovative alliance between ZigZag and Hemster reflects a shared vision of advancing sustainability and customer-centric solutions within the retail sector.

By leveraging ZigZag’s state-of-the-art returns technology with Hemster's advanced garment restoration and distribution capabilities, retailers can now seamlessly integrate a sustainable approach to managing returns and improving the customer experience.

The opportunity

Returns can arrive back at the retailer’s warehouse damaged in several different ways. The manufacturer may encounter quality issues, the product could have been damaged in transit, or the garment could have inadvertently been tarnished as a customer tried it on while testing for fit and size. Whatever the circumstance, it is frustrating for both the customer and the retailer. Faced with unsellable products, it can be tempting for retailers to send the items to landfill and move on.

However, ZigZag and Hemster believe returns should not be considered a cost or environmental burden. Instead, they are an opportunity to think more sustainably and champion the circular economy. An opportunity to save the sale and utilise local marketplaces. An opportunity to impress customers with an eco-conscious attitude and build brand loyalty.

Our belief aligns with a growing preference amongst consumers. Around half of 18–25-year-olds have bought second-hand clothing in the past year. A further 24% of consumers have also repaired their own clothing during the same time period. This data clearly highlights that there is an appetite for refurbished clothing. Today’s generation is happy and willing to wear pre-loved items, whether it’s for environmental reasons or just to save a few pounds.

How does the partnership work?

Firstly, a customer of one of ZigZag’s world-leading retailers selects “damaged / faulty” as their reason for making a return on ZigZag’s award-winning online portal. This triggers ZigZag to generate a dynamic shipping label that sends the return straight to Hemster, rather than back to the retailer’s DC or warehouse. Hemster processes received returns within 48 hours to validate the product against SKU data and inspects individual items through its AI-powered Revive platform.

Hemster’s data insights empower every retailer to set their own margin goal per item, as Hemster Revive approves each refurbishment by comparing the projected Repair Cost against the band’s Set Cost Ceiling, once repaired the item is automatically routed based on retailer preference, pulling in proprietary data points like Quality Grade, Projected Selling Price, and approved Sales Channels.

The vast majority of clothing is restored close to its former, firsthand glory, with invisible repairs. These items can be sold directly from the retailer’s site and drop-shipped from Hemster warehouses. Visibly refurbished and second-hand quality garments can be sold via resale sites and marketplace partners. Both ZigZag and Hemster boast unrivalled marketplace partnerships including relationships with eBay, Depop, Reflaunt, and more, to help recover as high of MSRP as possible.

Matthew Jacques, Global Partnerships Director of ZigZag, shared his enthusiasm, stating, "Our collaboration with Hemster signifies a major leap towards a more circular fashion economy. By providing retailers with the tools to revive garments and create personalized experiences for customers, we are collectively driving positive change within the industry."

Allison Lee, Founder / CEO of Hemster added, “Too many items end up in landfill prematurely – from such minor damages. We view this strategic partnership with an industry-leading platform like ZigZag to bring us closer to our mission of diverting all unnecessary waste from ever going to landfill.

The result

Hemster revives over 80% of damaged items it receives, recovering 70% of the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price in the process. That’s over 80% less goods going to landfill and a material improvement to a brand’s bottom line. Retailers can even flag Hemster-refurbished clothing on their website, delighting customers with their sustainability-focused transparency and acquiring new customers who prefer to purchase refurbished items.

So, the question is, why wouldn’t a retailer utilise ZigZag’s partnership with Hemster?

How to find out more?

If you are a retailer interested in finding out more about how to cut the costs involved in the returns process or want to make a name for yourself as a more sustainable retailer, you can email us zigzag sales@zigzag.global.