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British Department Store Allowing Online Shoe Returns At Gas Stations

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John Lewis, the huge British department store chain, is taking an interesting twist on E-Commerce returns. The idea of having free unlimited returns for online-purchased clothing and shoes (especially shoes) is well known, but the chain is trying to make it more hassle-free by allowing those free E-Commerce returns at more than 5,000 convenience stores, gas stations (OK, petrol stations) and newsstands. Returning too tight sneakers when you fill up for gas on the way to work?

The initial deal is limited to online purchases (no trying to return stuff purchased from a physical John Lewis store) and is further restricted to clothing, shoes and "fashion accessories." (Wonder if the argument that an iPad Mini or a coffee machine is a fashion accessory would fly?) The John Lewis free shipping deal comes through a partnership with CollectPlus, a large U.K. parcel service. Completely non-coincidentally, the incoming E-Commerce chief for John Lewis—Mark Lewis—is the former head of CollectPlus. Regardless of where the idea came from, having a relatively quick and painless way to return those "looked good on screen but are in reality stunningly ugly patent leather pumps" is a good one. Anything that makes shoppers more comfortable with buying a lot of clothes on the chance that they'll keep some of them is certainly worth a shot.